The World’s Largest Act of Faith
The Greatest Gathering: Every 12 years, the Hindu festival of Kumbh Mela brings tens of millions of people to the Ganges, the biggest organised gathering on the planet. A visual treat, this report explores the mind-boggling event.
Kumbh Mela (à¤•à¥?à¤®à¥?à¤ à¤®à¥‡à¤²à¤¾) (the Pitcher Festival) is a Hindu pilgrimage that occurs four times every twelve years and rotates among four locations: Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. Each twelve-year cycle includes one Maha Kumbh Mela (Great Kumbh Mela) at Prayag, which is attended by millions of people, making it the largest gathering anywhere in the world. On this occasion, pilgrims from every nook and corner of India – speaking different languages and dialects, wearing distinctive markings on their foreheads, donning various types of dress and observing different manners and customs – meet together for a holy bath in the sacred waters. Wave after wave, the pilgrims formed a veritable river of humanity that flowed unto the banks of the Ganges at Allahabad to celebrate the greatest spiritual festival ever held – Kumbha Mela, the world’s largest act of faith. It takes place nearby HaridwÄ?r. HaridwÄ?r, city in northern India, in Uttaranchal state. HaridwÄ?r is an ancient city on the Ganges River, located between the Gangetic Plain and the Himalayan foothills. It is one of the seven holy cities of Hindus, and its name means â€œdoor of Hari,â€? one of the names of the Hindu god Vishnu. The city’s Hari-ki-Pairi ghat (bathing step), located on the western bank of the Upper Ganges Canal, is revered by Hindus as the site of Vishnu’s footprint. Many pilgrims also visit the nearby Daksheshwar Temple. HaridwÄ?r hosts the Dikhanti (â€œbirth of the riverâ€?) celebration every spring and is one of four sites for the Kumbh Mela, the greatest of the Hindu pilgrimage festivals. The Upper Ganges Canal, which draws water from the Ganges River for irrigation purposes, originates in HaridwÄ?r. A hydroelectric plant is near the city.