kumbh mela: in pictures (via national geographic)


If you’re a North American yoga practitioner, chances are you know somebody who has headed to India for Kumbh Mela, the Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which devotees gather to bathe in the confluence of India’s holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. The gathering happens every three years at one of four places (which follow a rotation based on mythology and astrology). The 2013 event began on January 14 at Allahabad and peaked on February 10, when an estimated 10 million people bathed in the Ganges river.

IAYB was unfortunately not able to attend this year, but we’ve been watching the action develop via the Internet. This series on National Geographic lights our hearts and makes us wish we there. 






  1. Beautiful photos and definitely an interesting festival I wish I was going to! 🙂

  2. It’s not every 3 years, roseanne.

    The Maha Kumbh Mela happens every 12 years in 4 different cities. The Ardha (Half) Kumbh Mela happens every 6 years in two cities.

    I was at the Mela in Haridwar in 2010 and plan to attend again in 2022 when I am an old lady …. my jyotish in India believes I’ll be wearing orange robes then, so I got that going for me. 🙂

    • oh yeah? it’s actually really confusing.

      on wikipedia it says, “It is held every third year at one of the four places by rotation: Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayag), Nasik and Ujjain. Thus the Kumbh Mela is held at each of these four places every twelfth year.”

      on the official kumbh mela website, it says “The Kumbh Festival is held at Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik every four years, but the Kumbh at Prayag has a special significance. The Kumbh Festival is marked by the fact that it is held at the banks of holy rivers every 12 years.”

      the national geographic site says, “The festival happens every three years in one of four Indian cities, with the event in Allahabad considered the holiest.”

      i didn’t see any indication anywhere that this is a maha festival. but i guess i’ll take your word for it. i’m just going with what i find on the internets.

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