Going With the Flow, Kumbh Mela – India

Going With the Flow, Kumbh Mela – India

 “It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination…”

___Mark Twain, 1897

Hindu devotees, some 130 million of them over 55 days, made their way to Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India recently. The Kumbh Mela is considered the most sacred and greatest of North Indian festivals where the ceremonial dip in the Holy river is an important ritual. This mass pilgrimage is the largest gathering of humanity in the world. Pilgrims are seen here flowing across one of ten pontoon bridges.

Ron Mayhew

Fine Art Photographer specializing in Still Life and Commercial Photography.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Very interesting photo, Ron! Thanks for sharing…it broadens my Horizons!

  2. Ron,

    Enjoyed the photo very much. I’d like to see 130 million of our people walk, barefooted , carrying their water to drink, to the sacred River for a Spiritual Dip!

    1. Sandy, how insightful. I don’t think very many Westerners are that committed.

  3. Ron, I’ve recently discovered your blog. What an evocative image. I’m reminded of phrase I heard, setting up my ‘Soul of India’ blog: ‘a journey to the crossroads’. I was told it came from the Sanskrit for meditation.

    1. Thank you so much Phil. “A journey to the crossroads” is very apropos. I spent a little time on your blog and look forward to more.

      1. Thanks Ron, I look forward to dropping by. I’ve always been a words man. Perhaps, that’s why your images are such a pleasure.

  4. Having this shot in black and white made it all the more interesting. Great quote with it.

    1. Thank you Kat. India is so colorful but in this case I think the story was better told in B&W.

  5. Great image. It really makes one think.

    1. Indeed, Laurie. The commitment to their belief is, well, unbelievable.

    1. Thank you Elanor. I thought it needed to be in B&W.

  6. Wonderful photo Ron – love the sepia treatment. Was it very colorful in the original?

    1. All of India is amazingly colorful but in this case I thought it would distract from the solemn, serene procession. And I guess I am going through a B&W phase. 🙂

  7. What a unique and precious photo, Ron. That’s a huge number of people, all with the same purpose.

    1. Thank you so much and thank you for visiting.

  8. combining the magic and the human. standing still to take pictures during pilgrimages is to some extent standing in harm’s way – crowds in India have a way of becoming unpredictable quickly and when they do you have less than 2 minutes to find a way out. take care.

    1. It was the experience of a life time and one I don’t need to repeat. Thanks for you insightful comment.

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