Kumbh Mela

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Considered to be the biggest human gathering event, Kumbh mela definitely is attracted by many people around the whole world. I was not different, and Kumbh mela was definitely in my bucket list.

Kumbh mela in Nashik takes place at two places, one in Ramkund, Nashik and another in Trimbakeshwar, which is 30kms apart from Nashik. A rule was set by Peshawa during the time where in one of the Kumb mela these two groups fought with each other over who would take the holy bath first which resulted in hundreds of death. As per the rule, the sadhus (Saint) belonging to “Vaishnav” sect will take bath in Godavari at Ram Kund, Panchavati and those belonging to “Shaiva” sect will take bath in Kushavrat ghat, Trimbak. So I chose to visit Trimbakeshwar first, because that’s where Naga sadhus were expected to come.

Trimbakeshwar Temple is one of the holiest and sacred place for Hindu pilgrims and is revered as a one of the 12 Jyotirlingaas shrines of Lord Shiva. The temple lies in the foothill of mountain Bramhagiri which is the origin of river Ganga (called here by name Godavari).

It seemed like monsoon arrived Nashik along with me from Kerala, and it was heavily raining in Nashik when I was starting to Trimbakeshwar. Even when I reached Trimbak in the evening, it was drizzling. I didn’t even get a chance to take my camera out and click a single pic till night. Polythene covers were sold for Rs 10, by the local people, and I took one and covered all over my back over the head, and that’s how I spent some 2-3 hours in Trimbak.

I took my first click when I found a shelter from the drizzle in the form of a Baba’s prabhashan center. There I met the first sadhu, to whom I introduced myself and he was astonished to know that I come from Kerala. He blessed me and was more than happy to get himself clicked.

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Then I started walking in and around of the nearby akharas, as the rain had stopped. Some of the sadhus were giving speeches for their followers, other were doing some poojas, and people were all moving around. I didn’t find any scope for any photographs, so didn’t take my camera out. I just shot the below picture of one such akhara in my Nokia Lumia 720. There was an announcement going on in the background, which asked people who are not related to any of the sadhus, to go out and vacate the place, so as I did.

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It was 8.30 pm and I started looking for a shelter to sleep, but sooner I realized that it is impossible for an outsider like me to get a room at the very last moment. So I thought of spending some time on the streets and meet the people.
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A few policemen found me shooting the above pic and asked me what I am actually doing there. I told them that I hail from Kerala, and came just to witness Kumbh mela. They too were shocked to hear that, and became very good friends in a short span of time.
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They finally bid a short farewell and promised to help in taking me near to the Kushavrat ghat, where the snan was going to happen from 3 am onwards. They gave me their mobile numbers as well, thanks so much Vaibhav sir, Athul Kotkar sir and others.

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Here is the night view of the Trimbakeshwar temple. I could take the snap only from the outside street, because mobiles and cameras weren’t allowed inside the temple.

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Finally as I realized that there were no room available to sleep, I found this bench in-front of a closed shop in the foot path. It was already 11 pm and only a few hours were left for the ‘snan’ which would start from 3 am on-wards. So I somehow managed to spent time on this so called bench and sleeping for some time after having kept the waking alarm at 2.45.WP_20150912_006

I fell into sleep for sometime and it was when I heard the noise of the bands, woke up. I hurried towards the direction where the noise of the bands came from, and I could see the procession of the sadhus had already been started. Here is one such procession of the sadhus on the tractor and his followers.

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I somehow managed to intrude into the procession area and clicked some photos. My camera saved me from being prohibited to the procession area._MG_3133

Here is the very first sadhu whom I met in Trimbak, who was in between the procession._MG_3151

There were quite a few anxious faces I could see when looked upwards. People were all waiting to see their gods with praying hands._MG_3170

Their faces are telling it all…_MG_3192

Here is jubilant santh follower who got even excited by seeing a camera focusing him._MG_3205

It was good to see even foreigners were actively involved in every bit of it, though they interpret differently about this event._MG_3209

Even the photographers themselves were eager to take snaps with the sadhus and I could see the anxious faces all over. _MG_3213

There were armed forces as well to help manage the crowd and make the event a peaceful one._MG_3225

And here comes the big guns among the sadhus. Light was a key concern in shooting them, as it was still early dawn and sun hadn’t come out yet. _MG_3234

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Finally when the sun slowly started to come out, the Trimbak village and the surrounding mountains started to appear. _MG_3546

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That was a million dollar expression :-)_MG_3576

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Here is where I stood up and shot some aerial clicks. These family were very co-operative, unlike some other nearby families who don’t even let people stand in front of their houses._MG_3640

Curiosity beyond age :-)_MG_3668

Maharashtra police had been doing an excellent work during the kumbh mela. The event is supposed to be largest man gathering occasion in the world, and still they managed to handle it in a pretty organized way. Some of them told me like they were on duty for 72 hours continuously. Kudos to Maharashtra Police!

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These are some of the images of sadhus coming out from the Kushavrat ghat after the snan. People were waiting outside the ghat for their arrival to get a glimpse of the sadhus and stay blessed._MG_3740

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