kumbh mela These photographs were taken at the 2010 Kumbh Mela at Haridwar, India. The Kumbh Mela is said to be the world's largest religious gathering. It is a mammoth pilgrimage where millions of Hindus gather over a 45 day period to dip in the sacred Ganges to wash away their sins with the goal of attaining Moshka - escape from the endless cycle of death and rebirth to attain immortality. Every 12 years the Mela occurs in Haridwar in Northern India where the Ganges flows from the glaciers of the Himalayas. According to ancient Hindu Vedic texts, Haridwar is one of four holy places where Amrit, the elixir of immortality spilled from the Kumbh (holy pitcher) and as carried by the celestial bird Garuda. The Kumbh is a massive gathering of Sadhus or Babas, an assortment of holy men and mystics revered for their good karma and mystical powers. Many live in forests abandoning all material goods and attachments to focus on spiritual matters, yoga and in many cases smoking vast amounts of Charas, very strong hashish in clay pipes in a religious ritual including chants honoring Shiva. The stars of the show are the Naga Sadhus, naked and covered in holy ash, parading through town and charging en mass into the Ganges on the Royal Bathing Days with swords and tridents. Needless to say, the event was an amazing spectacle to behold and spending time with the Sadhus was a once in a lifetime transformational experience that I hope to experience again in 12 years. Click on the video tab of this website to see some raw uncut video taken at the festival to get a feel for the spirit of the event - something the photographs can't convey.