Blog

Sharing my experiences of this beautiful world that we live in through photography. And some geeky tech photo stuff.

Kumbh Mela at the Ganges River

March 6, 2013  -  Festivals

The Ganges river is the primary source of attraction during the Kumbh Mela festival. It is more than a river truly. For pilgrims it is what they’ve been waiting to be with for months and years. For the millions that come, traveling miles on foot, bus, trains, planes and more, it is place to let go of unwanted burdens and receive an inflow of loving change. Those who approach the river with the right attitude and mind set get the biggest rewards. Yet, there are others who come unwilling to dip in the Ganges and fall victim to her magical ways, end up taking a dip and are never the same.

A kumbh (pot) lays abandoned on some rocks on the banks of the Ganges River during the Kumbh Mela festival.

A kumbh (pot) lays abandoned on some rocks on the banks of the Ganges River during the Kumbh Mela festival.

Humans are not the only ones that can do the tree pose.

Humans are not the only ones that can do the tree pose.

Pilgrims arrive in droves for the largest festival on earth.

Pilgrims arrive in droves for the largest festival on earth.

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Embracing Technology at the Kumbh Mela

March 1, 2013  -  Festivals

Three years ago at the Kumbh Mela at Haridwar in North India I was photographing a parade when I noticed an ash covered sadhu wearing only a loin cloth standing next to me filming with a Sony handycam. I could resist but to point my camera in his direction and capture this.

It's a Sony!

It’s a Sony!

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Father and Son Journey the Kumbh Mela

February 28, 2013  -  Festivals

10th February 2013
Main bathing day, Kumbh Mela Festival
Allahabad, India.

Meshed amongst millions of people and really not in a position to photograph at all I decided to look at what was happening around me. People everywhere. Right up against me. Pushing and pulling in every direction. And it has been like this for 2 hours now. So, I held my camera in front of me and started shooting as I was pushed around. To be honest almost every image was useless except for this series which showed the patience and love of a father who carried his son, for hours probably, in this sea of devoted pilgrims.

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Kumbh Mela, crossing bridges

February 11, 2013  -  Festivals

Temporary pontoon bridges were built especially for the Kumbh Mela to help pilgrims get across the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. Most pilgrims stayed on the side of the Yamuna river and had to cross the pontoon bridge or the main road bridge to get across the Yamuna river to where the sadhus resided and where the main bathing would take place.

Millions cross pontoon bridges to get to the other side of the river.

Millions cross pontoon bridges to get to the other side of the river.

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Hard to imagine but it was this crowded from wee hours of the morning till late night.

Hard to imagine but it was this crowded from wee hours of the morning till late night.

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Kumbh Mela, scenes from pre-dawn

February 10, 2013  -  Festivals

For sure one of the most amazing experiences in my life was to attend the Kumbh Mela festival on the main bathing day on February 10th. To be amongst 30 million pilgrims was humbling and the lessons learned invaluable.

Here are some images from pre-dawn. I was up at about 3:30am and headed out to the main bathing area. It was tough shooting in the conditions present….crowds, low light (no light), and organized chaos. But here’s what I got. Some of the photos were taken at the Sangam, the meeting point, a sandy bank, where the Yamuna and Ganges river meet. Here’s where millions have come to bathe on the most auspicious day of the festival.

Boatmen making their way through early morning mist to the banks of the Yamuna river to ferry passengers to the sangam.

Boatmen making their way through early morning mist to the banks of the Yamuna river to ferry passengers to the sangam.

Thousands of people are continuously ferried by hundreds of boats to the sangam.

Thousands of people are continuously ferried by hundreds of boats to the sangam.

Pilgrims arrive at the sangam. The water is shallow here and you are able to stand safely. Most pilgrims bathe here.

Pilgrims arrive at the sangam. The water is shallow here and you are able to stand safely. Most pilgrims bathe here.

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At another sandy bank nearby thousands or millions I should say dip in the cold waters. It's crowded even at 4am.

At another sandy bank nearby thousands or millions I should say dip in the cold waters. It’s crowded even at 4am.

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Portraits of Sadhus, holy men of the Kumbh Mela (Part 2)

February 3, 2013  -  Monks & Priests

I’m almost in India. A 5-hour transit here in Dubai and then our flight to Kolkata where our spiritual adventure begins. On February 9th we head to Allahabad for the spectacular Kumbh Mela festival. I’m eager to pilgrimage to this holy event as well as take photos. Here’s more photos of sadhus I’ve photographed.

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A sadhu is dripping wet after his bath in the sacred Ganges river.

A sadhu is dripping wet after his bath in the sacred Ganges river.

Naga Sadhu

Naga Sadhu

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