Going through my archive of photos I came across these images that I had taken a couple of years back in Rajasthan, India. Most of these photos were shot on the outskirts of Jodhpur in small villages. I applied a particular style to these images to give them the look that they have below. These styles were applied in Adobe Lightroom 4 initially using “Matt’s 300 Look – Soft” (by Matt Kloskowski) preset then modified to give them the final touch below.

Rajasthan children hugging each other, India

rajasthan-mother-and-child India

 

Ok, I admit I could have come up with a more creative blog post title but at least it gets straight to the point.

At the Kumbha Mela festival that I attended in Haridwar in 2010 I met a monk with really long hair. He invited me to join him and his devotees around a smoldering log that they were sitting around. After being there for a little while he decided to unwrap his turban. Well, it was not really a turban but a big piece of cloth which seemed to be holding a lot of hair on his head.

He slowly unwrapped the cloth and gently extended his matted hair which extended and extended. It was easily over 6 feet long and beautifully matted over many, many years. He was very proud of it and wanted me to photograph this. I couldn’t really tell where he was from but he looked like he was from either Nepal or Tibet. One of many wonderful experiences that I had at the Kumbha Mela festival.

Note our 2013 Kumbha Mela tour and journey across north India is from the 4th of February to the 16th.

 

We continue with our series of photographs highlighting the Ganga Aarti ceremony that takes place at the Kumbha Mela festival in India.

We’ve themed our tour to the Kumbha Mela festival as a spiritual and photography adventure as there’s be countless opportunities for photography during the festival and the days we travel across northern India. Click this link for more information about this Kumbh Mela tour.

The Ganga Aarti ceremony begins and lit oil lamps are waved ceremoniously to devotional singing casting beautiful shades of colors in the Ganges river.

The crowd departs after the ceremony

Thousands leave the banks of the Ganges after the ceremony leaving a ghostly trail in this long exposure image

 

Part of the Kumbha Mela festival is the evening Ganga Aarti celebration down by the banks of the holy Ganges river. Aarti is a Hindu ritual wear an oil lamp or lamps are lit and then waved ceremoniously at a deity. In this case the the holy river is looked open as the deity and the lit lamps are offered at the river.

Hundreds of thousands, if not more, attend this ceremony during the mela. Crowds gather early to find the best seats in the house and huddle along the banks of the Ganges for the ceremony.

Today’s series of photos takes a look at the crowd waiting for the ceremony to begin and tomorrow we’ll share photos from the ganga aarti ceremony itself.

Join our spiritual and photography adventure to the Kumbha Mela festival and across north India next year in February.

Long chains hang from a bridge providing a lifeline for those pilgrims that get swept away in the strong currents

 

On July 6th I did a blog post of photos of Indian children I photographed in the little town of Nagaur in northern Rajasthan. Here are a few more photos of kids from that town. The town truly is in the middle of the desert and the only highlight besides the wonderful people is the amazing 1700 year old fort.

 

The grand 2013 Kumbha Mela festival is only a little over 7 months away. Quite a few people have signed up for our spiritual adventure to this festival and across north India and we hope you will too.

Today, I’d like to share some photos taken by a dear friend of mine, Anna Kastner. She’s attended the last two Kumbha Mela festivals in Allahabad (2007) and Haridwar (2010) and the collection of photos that you see here are from both of these events. Thank you Anna for sharing these photos with me and those that follow my blog.

The Kumbha Mela festival along with all the places we are going to on this journey will provide unparalleled opportunities for photography and hence we’ve themed it a “Spiritual and Photographic Adventure“.

Many man made bridges are created to ferry pilgrims across the Ganges river. Allahabad, India

Sadhus joyfully dive into the Ganges river at Haridwar during the Kumbha Mela there in 2010

Accommodation for the millions of pilgrims range from luxury tents to sleeping along the Ganges river

A sadhu practices the severe austerity of holding his hand in the air for years...

Thousands of sadhus parade along the main street in Haridwar slowly making their down to the Ganges river

 

I enjoyed my time in the little town of Nagaur. Located 2 hours north of Jodhpur in state of Rajasthan, India, Nagaur is a little oasis in the desert with literally nothing around it. And there is nothing to do in this town other meets its people and get a flavor of local life. And the one place to stay is Ranvas Nagaur, the 4th century fort which has been partially converted to a boutique hotel.

On the evening we arrived there we explored the town and here are a few photos of some of the locals I photographed.

old-woman-rajasthan-india in town of Nagaur

Drinking chai, Indian tea, is a favorite indulgence for most locals.

The metal pot maker holds up one of his latest pieces.