Kumbha Mela’s Ascetics
March 11, 2011 • Hinduism, Photography & Travel
In February of 2010 I was fortunate enough to be present at the Kumbha Mela festival that was taking place in Haridwar, North India. Thousands of Hindu ascetics (a person who leads an austerely simple life, especially one who abstains from the normal pleasures of life or denies himself or herself material satisfaction and dedicates his or her life to a pursuit of contemplative ideals and practices extreme) had gathered in this little town next to the holy Ganges river for this sacred festival that takes place once every four years.
Kumbha is a Sanskrit word for a roundish pot with no handles and mela means a gathering or fair. On February 12th, over 5 million Hindus had gathered in this small town on the main bathing day. These ascetics, sadhus, paraded down the narrow streets of Haridwar before finally reaching the Ganges river where they then proceeded to take a dip. Most of these photos were shot on this day.
Here is a small collection of photos of some of these ascetics that I managed to photograph in the 5 days I spent at the festival. I’ll share a few more in the days to come.
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