Haridwar - Kumbh Mela 2016 - Ganga Scene

A Kumbh Mela is a huge festival and pilgrimage in which Hindus gather by the million to bathe in the sacred rivers.  They take place once every 12 years in each location with a half Kumbh Mela every 6 years. 2016 is such a year. There are 4 locations across India where the festivals are held. Haridwar, Allehebad, Ujjain and Nasik.

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Haridwar - Kumbh Mela 2016 - Kavad

Pilgrims from all over India carry Kavads. These are highly decorated vehicles or hand held pots in which they collect holy Ganga water. The water is then carried home to the towns and villages where its used in religious ceremonies. These pilgrims have carried their Kavad for 200 Km on foot in teams of 12.

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Haridwar - Kumbh Mela 2016 - Kavad
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Haridwar - Kumbh Mela 2016 - Kavad
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Haridwar - Kumbh Mela 2016 - Kavad
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Haridwar - Kumbh Mela 2016 - Kavad

Kavads come in many sizes.

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Haridwar - Kumbh Mela 2016 - Aarti

A pre dawn Aarti takes place at the temple with a large Ashram complex. The participants sit around square fire pits. The numbers are significant, with 9 people sitting around each of 9 fires arranged 3 by 3. The fires are also in 3 coloured layer; red, black and white. They light the fires as dawn breaks and throw offerings of incense into the flames.

 

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Haridwar - Kumbh Mela 2016 - Aarti

In the evenings, a public Aarti takes place on the banks of the Ganga. This is a very popular event with hundreds of thousands of people from all over India participating. Generally, generations of families will always return to the same one of the 4 Kumbh Mela locations.

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Haridwar - Kumbh Mela 2016 - Aarti
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Haridwar - Kumbh Mela 2016 - Aarti

Brahmin take the ceremony and say prayers over a loud speaker as they light the fires.

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Haridwar - Kumbh Mela 2016 - Aarti

Gradually the sun sets and as it does, a series of brightly coloured electric lights complement the fires on  the river, illuminating temples and buildings.

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