Mahakumbh: Men in Orange ( Part-2 )

I gave my overview of Maha Kumbh in the last post. How I started my journey from Delhi? How and where I spent my time with ‘Sadhus’? It was full of excitement and new experience. I travelled with Rahul, Jolly and Pratul. Rahul lost his cell phone at the time of entering into Railways Station. We were at the entrance. Someone pushed him back in the crowd and stole his cell phone. He came to know this fact at the very moment. We ran towards the entrance but it went in vain. We could not spot any suspect. The excitement ended for a while. Rahul was smiling and we were thinking “how we should react?” We tried to console him by saying that we will chip in and buy him a new cell phone. Interestingly, we did not… 🙂

Anyway, the train was on time at the right platform! We boarded the train and settled in our berth. I took out my camera and started looking for some shots. Jolly and Pratul started playing cards. Rahul had no option left so he started playing cards too with Jolly and Pratul. Likewise, the excitement and fun started again.

We reached Allahabad on time. It was very busy at the Railway Station. Firstly, we visited Rahul’s uncle and had lunch there. After a long conversation we left for Sangam where the Maha Kumbh was organized. We were greeted and welcomed by Sadhus at Niranjani Akhada. We checked into the camps and had a high tea.

Mahakumbh Mela Images

Mahakumbh Entrance Gate

Mahakumbh Entrance Gate

Naga Sadhus Mahakumbh

A ascetic has been standing on one leg only for the last 10 years.

We went for a walk in the night. We had a conversation with Sadhus or Saints and ascetics. It was very well managed in terms of Mela’s sanitary arrangements; good food and water with free ventilation in the camps with convenient conservancy arrangements. Of course! The whole was being kept in order by efficient Police Force. We could see police patrolling unit frequently. At one point of time, I realized that I am on another part of India. Men in orange were the attraction for every camera man. Thousands of shots were not even enough. Likewise, I also captured some shots during the night. I tried to capture it with blur or motion blur purposely.

Mahakumbh Mela Pictures

mahakumbh mela pictures

Mahakumbh mela during night

mahakumbh mela images

mahakumbh mela allahabad images

kumbh mela night picutres

mahakumbh pictures

mahakumbh tents

Pandal (Tents) of Akhada (Ascetic bands)

ascetic bands of juna akhada

Ascetic bands of Juna ascetics

mahakumbh meal 2013

Sadhus are beating the cold during night at camp

The next morning was a bit cold. I wanted to capture some shots during the morning. Pratul and me woke up early. Make shift toilets were busy with a queue. Some toilets were choked with human excreta .We had to defecate in the open field.

It gives contrast to the life when you capture the moments during the morning and then you compare it with other day time. I carried my cam there too. It was foggy near the river.

camps of mahakumbh

Camps at Niranjani Akhada

mahakumbh mela pictures

Morning at Mahakumbh Mela

mahakumbh mela camps

Morning tea is served at camp

I and Pratul had tea after getting fresh. The tea, lunch and dinner were served by the ‘Sadhus’ every day. We left for sangam (where three holy rivers converge). The sight was full of shots and moments. There were considerable numbers of camera holders. Some of them were professionals and representing the National Geographic Channel, BBC and Indian media. I captured moments there.

sangam allahabad

Devotees at Sangam, Mahakumbh

mahakumbh mela 2013 devotees

kumbh mela 2013 pictures

A man is printing photos for making money at the sangam, Allahabad.

sadhus at kumbh mela

A ‘Sadhu’ is waiting to take a dip into holy river.

It was the day before Shahi Snan. The common people were taking dips, little kids were looking for coins in the water, middle aged people were offering prayer with the help of their spouse or children. Hawkers were selling nuts with Chana by adding lemon in it.

mahakumbh sun set

Kids are looking for coins in the water thrown by devotees as a part of custom.

kumbh mela pictures

mahakumbh mela images

A life saver guard at the sangam

holy river at mahakumbh

A devotee is taking dip into the holy river

kumbh mela allahabad images

mahakumbh mela men in orange

A devotee is offering prayer at sangam

mahakumbh prayer

mahakumbh mela customs

A man is getting his head shaved off as a part of custom.

mahakumbh mela pictures

performing a part of custom

Little kids were posing as lord ‘Shiva and Parvati’. Every camera man was curious to capture these kids. Every time they were captured, and they asked for donation from the camera man. Women were drying their sari after taking holy bath into the river. I spend my whole day there. Jolly and Rahul also joined us later on. At one point of time, Jolly, Rahul and Pratul were into deep thought after having experienced of such an event. Trust me; it makes you to push into deep thought when you are at Maha Kumbh. If you sit silently, you will ask from yourself that we humans are a strong race. What we are and what we were? Some start finding nit pickings in the actions of life and some start finding positive and strong aspect of it.

To Be Continued…

mahakumbh mela images 2013

Little kid is dressed up a kind of Hindu lord.

kumbh mela 2013 photography

sangam ghat at allahabad

‘Sadhus’ is asking for money from devotees at sangam.

kumbh mela 2013 images

Women are drying their ‘sari’ after a holy bath

mahakumbh mela pictures

street hawkers at kumbh mela 2013

A hawker is selling nuts and ‘chana’.

posing lord shiva at kumbh mela

A little kid is dressed up as lord Shiva

mahakumbh women drying sari

kumbh mela pictures

kumbh mela tents

Tents at Kumbh mela Allahabad.

mahakumbh meal images

Lord Saturn

hawkers at mahakumbh mela

Hawkers are selling stuffs related to lord Saturn

camps and lunch at mahakumbh 2013

Lunch is being made for devotees.

hawkers at mahakumbh mela 2013

A hawker is selling threads or beads.

sunset mahakumbh mela pictures

Sunset at sangam, Allahabad during Mahakumbh Mela 2013

By: Siddharth Malkania
Travel Photographer, Cosmic Travel Hub

Holi 2013 India

What is the first expression comes into your mind about India? It is colors! Many travellers are interested to photograph  colors here. You can find different varieties of colors in every kind of stuff.  People buy the stuffs with different colors by considering the different weather conditions.  Many of you might differ with my observation.

Well, many of you might have heard about Holi festival in India. It is a festival of colors.  People apply colors on each others’ faces on this day. They exchange greetings and sweets. Every state in India has its own variety of celebrating Holi. The holi at Mathura is widely famous. Mathura falls under the Uttar Pradesh territory. It is not far away from city of Taj Mahal, Agra. Mathura is a birth place of Lord Krishna. He used to play holi with all his friends. This festival has significance of  winning good spirit over bad ones. People use herbal colors and sing songs in the temples of Mathura. They celebrate it for a week there. People meet their friends and hug each other after applying colors. It creates harmony and integrity in the society. Holi is going to be celebrated on 27th March 2013. It has started in Mathura already. I visited Mathura for one day only last day. I managed to get some shots for you.

Mathura Holi 2013

It is a big pond near birth place of Lord Krishna. There are different versions about it. It was meant for taking bath there.

Holi in March 2013

People of Mathura show exhibitions every day in the local market. Little kids pose like Lord Krishna and throw flowers and colors in the air.

Mathura holi 2013

One of the performers in the exhibitions of Holi 2013 India.

Holi in March 2013

Little Kids are posing as followers of Lord Krishna and exhibiting themselves in the local market of Mathura.

Mathura holi 2013

An exhibitor is wearing glasses against colors.

Holi in March 2013

A little girl is posing as follower of Lord Krishna.

Famous Festival of India

A little kid is posing as Lord Krishna and showering flowers in the local market of Mathura, India.

holi in march 2013

Holi in March 2013

Holi in March 2013

People celebrating Holi 2013 in Mathura, India.

Photos by: Siddharth Malkania

MahaKumbh: Men In Orange ( Part-1)

Kumbh is one of the social events which are known popularly around the world. There are many reasons which arouse the people’s curiosity to attend it. How come the people can throng into one place for a common purpose to ‘take a bath’? What is the relevancy of a ‘Shahi Snan’? Where the naga sadhus (ascetics) come from to take a bath on ‘Shahi Snan’? Are ascetics different from saints or pundits or pujaris? There are no straight answers for such questions. These questions are unanswered for years. It leads to curiosity to know more about Kumbh and to know more about religion, humanity, power, strength which draws a line in between one society and others.

I had curiosity to know all this too. It took me to visit Kumbh 2013. Every photographer has a wish to attend kumbh once in a life. It is always in his/her wish-list. I made my plans to attend the kumbh at Allahabad on a first ‘Shahi Snan’. It was on 14th Jan. 2013 on the eve of Makar Sakaranti (A Hindu Festival). I have covered several events related to religion; social issues; festivals for the last four years. It has always been unique experience every time when there is a vast variety in Indian culture and religion. It was a new experience with Kumbh too. I spent three days with ascetics and saints at Akhada (camp).

I witnessed crowd or devotees beyond my expectations. I can’t claim the numbers of exact visitors. This year millions of devotees attended Kumbh mela. The administration announces the exact numbers of visitors whenever it is held. It has always been questioned by media. It is very difficult to count the exact numbers. Every time administration finds itself helpless to handle devotees during Kumbh. Unfortunately, two major incidents occurred this year too. First, there was a stampede at Allahabad railway station and second, a fire broke out in camps. Several devotees lost their life in mishap.

It was sprawled over 45 square km. area. Administrations tried its best to make better arrangements. They provided the information in public domain about arrangements. It was like “18 pontoon bridges, a 100-bed central hospital, 240 twenty-bed regional and infectious diseases hospitals, 46,000 toilets of different standards, 4,000 urinals, 770-km long temporary power lines, 50 transformers, 50 generator sets, three additional power stations of 132 KV, 155-km checker plate road, 125 fair price shops, 150 milk sale centres, 40 fire tanks, 20,000 potable water pump facility.”

It was a huge affair with lots of new experience every day. It is very hard to write about it in one post. It is just a start. More stories behind the kumbh have to come yet related to ‘Shahi Snan”, camping with fire, donations to akahadas, cash flow in millions of rupees, spending $4625 for one lunch in a day, nominating Mahamandleshwar and Nagas’ Life!

Next post will come soon…To Be Continued!

allahabad kumbh mela 2013

Niranjani Akahara heading towards sangam to take a bath on the day of Shahi Snan

Nagas in mahakumbh

A naga saint is taking rest after meditation.

Niranjani Akahada Flag

Flag of Akahara during sun set.

kumbh mela 2013 accommodation

Saints are beating the cold in the camps

mahakumbh 2013

Shastri bridge during early morning

Kumbh Mela 2013 Pictures

Sun Set at the river Ganges

Mahakumbh Pictures

A naga saint running to take a bath.

Mahakumbh mela 2013 pictures

A devotee is offering prayer to Sun.

kumbh mela 2013 images

A girl is selling flowers to devotees.

Mahakumbh Mela 2013 pictures

A devotee is offering prayer to Sun.

Shahi Snan Maha kumbh

A devotee is taking a bath in sangam at Allahabad

Kumbh Shahi Snan

A naga saint waiting for his fellows.

shahi snan 2013

A naga saint waking in Niranjani Akahara after shahi snan

nagas in kumbh mela 2013

A naga saint is ready for meditation.

Akhara kumbh 2013

A saint is enjoying sun at the altar of akhara.

Kumbh Mela 2013 pictures

A naga saint is raising slogan of lord Shiva during early morning heading towards sangam for shahi snan.

Kumbh Meal 2013 Tours

An evening before first shahi snan at Kumbh Mela 2013

By: Siddharth Malkania, Travel Photographer