Thursday, 29 March 2007

Last Reflections From the Ardh Kumbh Mela

Time for my last post from 2007 Ardh Kumbh Mela. All these pictures were taken as we casually wondered around the fair ground on our last day there.

A picture which I really love. Sari dressed women are looking at a jewelry stand. Despite the religious nature of the festival there is absolutely no shortage of stands selling just about everything. It is also a great commercial event.

When we first visited the Kumbh Mela on the 19th it was arguably the greatest and most important bathing date, after which the festival begins to reduce in scale. It still continues for almost a month after that date, but already our second day it was evident that the masses were starting to pack up their belonging and move on. Here you see pilgrims with all their luggage crossing the pontoon bridges over river Ganges on their way back home - or possibly towards the next site of pilgrimage.

A different - almost melancholic - view of the streams of pilgrims leaving Allahabad.

Women washing, drying and folding their saris, by the river.

A holy man, who seemed to be very much living in his own world. I stood and watched him for a long time, in which period he not once took his eyes of his shiny tiffin box. While he was studying it closely he was smiling and laughing seemingly without taking any of the outside world. He must have seen something special in that box, that none of the rest of us could have seen.

A tired Mela participant takes a break from it all with a little nap in the sun.

On a less cheerful note, here is evidence that child labour is still very much common in India, despite being recently outlawed. These girls earn a few rupees supplying firewood to the pilgrims spending their nights in chilly tent camps.

An old lady in a small shack trying to earh a bit of money providing some - to be unknown - religious service to passers by.

As nightfall drew closer it apparently became time for parades around the fair ground. Here a tuba player is proudly showing off his skills for the honour of my camera.

Two participants in a parade carrying flags and other Hindu symbols.

A flag parade seen against the fantastic dusk sky.

A couple of horses waiting patiently to take part in another evening parade, as the sun is hastily setting behind them.

And this is my last picture from the amazing Ardh Khumb Mela: Reflections form a nearby tent camp in a small, shallow stream. An exceptionally beautiful dusk sky provided a perfect end to our trip to this amazing event. I have seen and done many things in India, but this festival beats it all. It is an almost overwhelming assault on the senses. I must strongly recommend all my readers to visit the next Kumbh Mela in Allahad. You have plenty of time to plan your trip: It will be in 2013.


oreneta said...

2013, huh, that is a workable kids wouldn't be a bad age by then either...13 and 16....hmmmm, that would be an eye-opener for a teenager wouldn't it. I think we will have to plan on it.

Esben said...

Yes oreneta, the Kumbh would indeed be an event that would expand your children's horizon enormously. And 2013 is the big one, even. In 2007 we were "only" about 20 million in one day, but you can safely assume that January 2013 will be at least twice as big. If you do start planning seriously get back to me in summer 2012 and I'll do my best to help ;o)

Discovery Journeys India said...

Kumbh Mela 2013 is really a big religious and spiritual event and everyone is excited about it.


Kumbh Mela Festival 2013 | Kumbh Mela Dates

Indian Travel said...

Thanks for enhancing our knowledge in a very simple way!!


Kumbh Mela Tour | India Tourist Attractions