Documentary Photography – Kumbh Mela, A Hindu Pilgrimage Of Faith

Crowd of pilgrims waiting for all the cold night in February the sacred bath of Mauni Amavasya Snan at Triveni Sangam in Allahabad.

 

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.

 

Sadhu

Sadhu

 

"Arati puja" is the name of ceremony with fire before the baths, in Gange river, early in the morning and before evening.

“Arati Puja” is the name of ceremony with fire before the baths, in Gange River, early in the morning and before evening.

 

Sadhu

Sadhu

 

Maha Kumbh Mela

 

Kumbh Mela is one of the largest human congregations of faith on the Earth.

 

Pilgrims walking on "boat bridges"

Pilgrims walking on “boat bridges”

 

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.

 

Sadhu

Sadhu

 

Woman praying during the ceremony of the Sadhu (Mauni Amavasya Snan)

Woman praying during the ceremony of the Sadhu (Mauni Amavasya Snan)

 

Sadhu

Sadhu

 

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.

 

Sadhu

Sadhu

 

Pilgrim is ready for a ritual bath in sacred river Gange.

Pilgrim is ready for a ritual bath in sacred river Gange.

 

Sadhu

Sadhu

 

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.

 

Woman drying her clothes after a bath.

Woman drying her clothes after a bath.

 

Ritual bath in the morning at 4 A.M.

Ritual bath in the morning at 4 A.M.

 

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.

 

Lights, at 4 A.M., in Triveni Sangam the most important place in Allahabad

Lights, at 4 A.M., in Triveni Sangam the most important place in Allahabad.

 

_"Kumbh Nagar" the huge tents camp for the pilgrims in Allahabad during the religious festival of Maha Kumbh Mela (Uttar Pradesh, India).

“Kumbh Nagar” the huge tents camp for the pilgrims in Allahabad during the religious festival of Maha Kumbh Mela (Uttar Pradesh, India).

 

While next Kumbh Mela will be in 2016, the “Maha” will not be until around 2157.

 

See also:

001_Maha Kumbh Mela_cover book

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.

 


Back to HOME PAGE

%d bloggers like this: