February 10th, an estimated 30 million devotees will take a holy dip at the “Sangam”, the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers in Allahabad on this most auspicious occasion called ‘‘Mauni Amavasya”.
In order to really capture the essence of the big day, I’ll include images from the 9th, to show the massive influx of people streaming into the Mela in anticipation of the “big day”.
The crowd will gather to take a hold bath on February 10th because it is believed to be the occasion of the Mauni Amavasya, the day when the universe was created. Swami Krma Puri, well respected asetic noted: “Today’s bathing has a lot of importance. This amavasya is a most auspicious occasion of this Kumbh. Whoever takes a holy dip on this occasion has his sins washed off completely. That is why people from all over the world come to take a holy dip. This occasion has come after such a long time. So it has a lot of significance. So that is why it is so crowded here”. The ‘Mauni Amavasya’ is considered the most auspicious of all the bathing days and is by far the biggest.
On the morning of Februar 10th, we left our camp at 2:15 am to walk to the Sangam. Along the way we witnessed literally millions of pilgrims, descending towards the Ganges. It was a chilly morning but we were literally warmed by the mass of humanity surrounding us.
This was my second Kumbh Mela, the first being the 2001 Maha Kumbh Mela. 12 years ago and I vowed that I would return. I did, and I brought with me, 10 fellow photographers. It was indeed, an incredible experience. Like the 2001 Kumbh , this year’s festivities exceeded all of my expectations. I’ll be returning in 2025 and I hope you’ll consider coming along.
Please enjoy these 35 images.