At the head of the Niranjani
Sadhus gather on the banks
The Juna Akhara join the rush
Lighting candles to the Ganges
Below is a collection of photographs taken at yesterday’s bathing day at the Kumbh Mela.
From well before dawn, the great Akharas, or monastic sects, had headed for the Sangam, or main bathing point, in magnificent processions. Once they arrived, the Nagas - the most devout members of the orders, men who have renounced even clothes - rushed to the banks of the Ganges to bathe in its waters.
For these figures, who have vowed themselves to a life of harsh and ascetic austerity, this moment was one of their most glorious: Their belief is that on this particular day, the waters of the Ganges have been transformed into immortality-inducing nectar, and to bathe in them will wash away all of their sins.
And after them came the ordinary Indians - men and women who had travelled the length and breadth of this vast nation to be here, at the Kumbh, on this particular day. For them also, this was a day that they would treasure for the rest of their lives...