One of the most amazing things to witness at the Kumbh Mela festival is the parade of sadhus (monks). The parade takes place on the main bathing just before the auspicious time for the dip in the holy Ganges river. Monks parade from their tented areas in thousands to the river. Here are a collection of photos from the Kumbha Mela festival that took place in 2010 in Haridwar, North India.

Our spiritual and photography tour to the Kumbh Mela festival and north India next February begins in 5 months and 9 days. For those of you who are thinking of joining us I suggest to sign up as soon as possible as it will become almost impossible to get accommodations and even transportation to the festival. Train tickets sell out in a day when they go on sale when what you are attending is the largest human gathering on earth.


The Kumbha Mela is, needless to say, a photographers paradise. For those of us who have never been to a Kumbha Mela or never will, it is these men and women that do their best to bring this experience to our doorstep by photographing this exhilarating festival, if it is even possible at all to do so.

It’s not an easy task to say the least. Long hours on your feet, being shoved, pushed and pulled in every which way and every thing taking place in a split of a second.

The main bathing day with the colorful parade is especially challenging. Nobody seems to know what, where and when things will be taking place. One can only hope to be positioned in the right place so I was up early and placed myself in what I thought would be a strategic position. But before long I was sandwiched into a crowd with absolutely no way to move in any direction. I watched in utter dismay the parade of sadhus go by. My lens sadly hidden behind a sea of heads.

After the parade was over everyone that had gathered headed off in a different direction or followed the procession to the Ganges river. The street had never been so empty in the last few days. I waited there thinking that perhaps, if it is my good karma, that theses sadhus would return the same way they went down to the river. And surely enough my patience paid off. About an hour or so of patiently waiting the parade returned and this time I ensured I was perfectly placed.

Many of the sadhus don’t mind being photographed. In fact, some of them will gladly pose for you. But it is always polite to seek permission first before taking a photo of these holy men and women especially if you are coming in close for a portrait shot. During the day I also occasionally pointed the camera in the opposite direction and captured the images above showcasing a few of the photographers present at the Kumbha Mela.

If you would like to be at the Kumbha Mela festival next February in India for an amazing spiritual experience and boundless photographic opportunities do join our spiritual adventure that is planned to take us across North India. Click this link to find out more about our Kumbh Mela spiritual and photography tour.


Photo of a monk/sadhu at the Kumbha Mela festival in Allahabad

Here’s the final photo in our 14 day series of images of Sadhus. The biggest gathering of sadhus takes place every 3 years at the Kumbha Mela festival. It comes around again next year but time a little special. Every 12 years the full festival is celebrated and this just happens to be in 2013.

Our spiritual adventure to the Kumbha Mela in February 2013 is ideal for those seeking a spiritual journey and unparalleled photographic opportunities. If you’d like to find out more information about this tour to North India and the Kumbha Mela festival click here.


sadhu-vaishnavite-nepal-hindu The markings on a Hindu’s forehead quite often shares what sects he belongs to. There are four primary sects within Hinduism namely Saivism, Shaktism, Vaishnavism and Smartism. The markings on this sadhu’s forehead indicate that he is a Vaishnavite. Members of this sect worship the supreme God in the form of Vishnu.

The Kumbha Mela festival taking place next year in Allahabad is the largest gathering of sadhus anywhere in the world. Having attended the smaller Kumbha Mela festival 3 years ago I can truly say it is an experience not to be missed.

Our spiritual adventure to the Kumbha Mela in February 2013 is ideal for those seeking a spiritual journey and unparalleled photographic opportunities.


A Hindu sadhu at the Kumbha Mela festival which is held in Allhabadin North IndiaWell, we are coming close to the end of our 14 day series of images of some of Hinduism’s renunciates that I have photographed over the years. Sadhus are particularly photogenic I must say and the Kumbha Mela festival is probably the best time to photograph a sadhu if you are a photography enthusiast. Most sadhus don’t mind being photographed but it is always polite to ask first.


monk filiming with a video camera
For Day 11 of our series of images on sadhus I bring you a photo I took about 3 years back at the Kumbha Mela festival in Haridwar of a sadhu. I was focused on a photographing a parade when I noticed someone standing next to me. I peeked out of the corner of my eye and here was this sadhu standing next to me, modestly dressed in a loin cloth, filming with a Sony video camera.

I could not resist but to turn my camera in his direction. I learned most of my computer skills when I was a monk and support wholeheartedly monks embracing technology. After all it is just a tool. now instead of carving wisdom on a stone tablet we just use a digital tablet.


A sadhu waves his sword as he dances jubilantly during a parade at the kumbha Mela FestivalOne of the visually striking things at the Kumbha Mela is the parades that take place mainly on the main bathing day during the festival. Here a sadhu dances jubilantly waving a long sword as he parades down the street with thousands of other monastics headed to the sacred Ganges river.

The spectacular purna Kumbha Mela festival, celebrated once every 12 years, is the worlds’ largest human gathering.

India comes to life in a swirling concoction of color, song and spirituality at the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna. Millions of pilgrims gather to celebrate. Tens of thousands of monks make their way out of seclusion to bathe in the holy Ganges river on the auspicious day of the new moon. It’s a festival of epic proportions and an experience of a lifetime.

Our spiritual adventure to the Kumbha Mela in February 2013 is ideal for those seeking a spiritual journey and unparalleled photographic opportunities.