Greatest Show on Earth

Adult males, wandering itinerants, sadhus, saints, the spiritually inclined, and preachers congregate at the Kumbh Mela, the largest gathering of human beings on planet Earth. The setting offers a rich palette of imagery for photographers who wish to capture the sheer energy emanating from this Hindu religious event. Multiple sessions of worship, river bathing, inductions into monastic orders, individual prayers for the souls of human beings, and other religious practices mark the days of the Kumbh Mela and attract much media attention across the globe. Tourists and hordes of people from various faiths arrive at the location. The Kumbh Mela is organized every three years at the following locations: Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain. The Mela returns to each location after 12 years. Rich seams of Indian mythology enrich the grand narrative of the Mela; these include tales of gods and demons. The faithful believe that bathing in the holy rivers at each location absolves human beings of their sins and brings them closer to salvation. All this results in an outsized event that grips the human imagination in modern India.

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