Photographer and Journalist Erberto Zani is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From his project and book “Maha Kumbh Mela“. To see Erberto’s gallery of projects click on any image.
Maha Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela is one of the largest human congregations of faith on the Earth.
Legend has it that in the mythological times, during a waging war between the demigods and demons for the possession of elixir of eternal life, a few drops of it had fallen on to four places that are today known as Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nasik.
It is believed that these drops gave mystical powers to these places. It is to make oneself gain on those powers that Kumbh Mela has been celebrated in each of the four places since long as one can remember. The normal Kumbh Mela is held every 3 years, the Ardh (half) Kumbh Mela is held every six years at Haridwar and Allahabad while the Purna (complete) Kumbh Mela takes place every twelve years, at four places Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik, based on planetary movements.
The biggest event happens only every 144 years, after twelve Purna, in Prayag-Allahabad and is called “Maha Kumbh Mela”.
Allahabad is the most important place for possessing the holy confluence, known as Triveni Sangam, of the three sacred rivers of India – Ganga, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati.
In 2013, from 27th January to 25th February, the banks of the Sangam received more than 80millions of pilgrims. It’s believed that bathing here will free one from all the past sins, thereby liberating him from the cycle of life and death. Discomfort of having to travel miles and living in open air under freezing weather will take a backseat and it’s the pure sense of devotion and spirituality that will prevail, evident through their faces.
While next Kumbh Mela will be in 2016, the “Maha” will not be until around 2157.
During this unique event, photojournalist Erberto Zani published a photography book: a reportage with an insider perspective, not only typical visions of Kumbh Mela, but also a deeper view of pilgrims, where and how they live during the festival.
The book, created with several chapters as a “long day” inside the festival, is also a kind of guide, that describes with Indian terminology every essential moment of Maha Kumbh Mela.