Monday, 11 January 2010

Greg Constantine: Ardh Kumbh Mela

The Ardh Kumbh is being held in Haridwar from January 14 to April 28, 2010, and knowing that a number of photographers are making their way to attend it, I thought it opportune to post Greg Constantine's Ardh Kumbh Mela audio slideshow which was held in Prayag in 2007.

The main objective in attending the Kumbh Mela is to bathe in the Ganges. It is said that bathing in sacred rivers during Maha Kumbh or Ardh Kumbh breaks the circle of life & death, and liberates Hindus to attain moksha. Pilgrims & sadhus will descend in large numbers from India and elsewhere on Haridwar to bathe in the Ganges during these three months.

To underscore the importance of such events, it is estimated that more than 17 million Hindu pilgrims took part in the Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag over 45 days beginning in January 2007. On January 15, 2007 which was the most auspicious day of the festival, more than 5 million participated.

I attended and photographed the 2001 Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, which was attended by approximately 60 million people, making it the largest gathering in the world.

Greg Constantine is based in Southeast Asia since early 2006. His photo essays have been internationally published in various publications (IHT, The NY Times, CNN, Stern, The Economist and PDN to name but a few), and he also has been the recipient of a number of international awards.

My own slideshow of the 2001 Maha Kumbh Mela is here.

For the sake of completeness, there are a number of posts on the Kumbh Mela on The Travel Photographer's blog (do a search), but here's an outstanding one of the Ardh Kumbh Mela 2007 produced by BFC.