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Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019, A Photo Story

Allahabad Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019

There are this Kumbh Melas and that Kumbh Melas and then there is the Prayag Kumbh Mela 2019, at the Triveni Sangam (Confluence of three rivers), Allahabad, now called Prayagraj. From time immemorial Hindus from all over the country came here to take a dip and cleanse themselves of all their sins in the pure waters of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati (the elusive underwater river).

Kumbh melas are held in 4 places (Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nashik), in India each at an interval of 3 years from the previous. It follows a 12 year cycle for a particular city. This year, however, was a Ardha (half) Kumbh Mela but the atmosphere was, as if it was the Maha Kumbh Mela. Kumbh Mela has been included in the representative list of UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

We bring to you for your appreciation a set of photos which captures the essence and the mood of the largest congregations of pilgrims anywhere in the world.

There are certain auspicious days called, the Shahi snan (royal bath) day, during the month and a half of Kumbh Mela. It is said a dip on these days are powerful than on any other days. The above photo was taken from a chopper on Mauni Amavasya day, one of the shahi snan days. It is said over 30 million (3 crores) pilgrims took the holy dip at Sangam, Prayagraj on this day. The above photograph was taken early morning, before sunrise on Mauni Amavasya day.

The plains of river banks are transformed into a veritable city, which can accommodate Akhadas, Ashrams, accommodation and other facilities for pilgrims. There are over 100,000 portable toilets managed by 20,000 people working round the clock. 32,000 hectares of land were prepared for this mega event.


Street plays enacting stories from Hindu Religious books


Prayers are offered to the holy rivers in the evenings called Aarti. Rituals are performed in conjunction with chanting of religious scripts or prayer songs.  These are often performed by senior students of vedas and upanishads, led by their guru.

Trainee priests conducting evening prayers.


A milling crowd of pilgrims from far off places waiting to be let on the kilometer long pontoon bridges to go to the confluence. I have not seen a more disciplined crowd of over 1000 people.

On one side there are rustic men and women in their traditional attire walking towards the bathing areas and on the other is a smart lady police officer guiding them.

For most pilgrims it is more than a day’s outing. They bring their own raw food which they can cook in designated places and after their dip can enjoy various activities like sermons, plays and dances. The board says “Preachings from Srimad Bhagavath (Mahabharat)”.

A bunch of women devotees smilingly oblige for having their pictures taken. Most people are simple and as such, do not mind posing for photos.


A group from Rajasthan resting after having their bath in the confluence.

A modern Sadhu wearing branded hoodie!

A group of Sadhus chanting mantra.

A dancing Sadhu! Some of them are so into themselves and oblivious of the milling crowd outside. This sadhu performs a beautiful dance as his prayer to the gods.


Many of them have quite a flexible body.

Normally Naga Sadhus or Naga Babas are non violent unless provoked. This photo was taken just a few seconds before he roared into action with a stick on someone. I did not wait to see who it was… 😀 😀

On days of Shahi Snan (Royal Bath), the Naga Sadhus have preference over all others. They are easily recognizable by their ash coated naked bodies. Normally they live in the jungles or high on the Himalayan mountains. Only during festivals such as this can one see them in the cities.

Even at high in the mountains they do not wear anything and can withstand the cold very easily.

We did find that many of them were indulging on weeds.


Hundreds of devotees with their families took the plunge on this auspicious Mauni Amavasya (Silent new moon day).

Of course we want to tell the world that we took the dip! Selfie everywhere !

The words in blue says “Take another dip and cleanse your mind of all evil thoughts”.

Do you love to travel to experience a religious mega festival? If yes, which ones?

If you want to travel places with us, we invite you to join us on our feed or Facebook Travel Page.
P.S.- This article Prayag Kumbh Mela2019, A Photo Story belongs to Le Monde the Poetic Travels, an Indian Travel Blog, by the traveling couple, Nisha & Vasudevan R. Reproduction without explicit permission is prohibited. If you are viewing this on another website rather than the RSS feed reader or, then that website is guilty of stealing our content. Kindly do us a favour. Please visit our site and let us know. Thank you.



25 thoughts on “Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019, A Photo Story”

  1. Wow! Incredible. I didn’t know it’s that big. Millions of people together taking plunge in Ganges. Sounds unbelievable. I wanted to go but my dates did not match.

    How was the arrangements?

  2. Wow that is a lot of people! India seems to have a lot of colourful festivals and pilgrimages, I would love to see some of them and to understand a bit better how all the different cultures and religions celebrate and pray.

  3. This really does look like a great festivial to attend. Not sure if I want to be in the water bathing myself but love the night entertainment and the locals dressing up. But that is a lot of people turning up, not sure if I could handle the crowds. 😛

  4. Thank you for sharing this fascinating experience. It must have been marvelous. The first picture taken from above looks like a piece of modern art. And I have seen pictures of Naga Sadhus before, but I never new what they stood for. This was really interesting.

  5. Wow, that looks incredible. We ended up (accidentally, somehow) at the pilgrimage for the Santiago de Compostela, but it pales in comparison to the size of this. I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to take the plunge but I suppose I would in the end, just for the experience.

  6. OMG, over 30 million pilgrims!! What an honor and privilege to witness such a holy event.

    Of course, you took selfies when taking a dip. I would have done the same. 🙂

  7. That is A LOT of pilgrims. The festival looks very colorful, but I’m not sure I could handle such crowds. And I’d definitely not be taking a dip in the Ganges. Isn’t it supposed to very dirty? But this festival would probably be pretty unique and very cool to see.

  8. I like to hear about festivals from around the world. Prayag Kumbh Mela looks like an interesting Hindu rite. Amazing that so many people travel for their outing and a dip. And to cleanse their mind of evil thoughts.

  9. Must be a huge undertaking preparing for a large group of pilgrims. Their devotion is admirable. It must feel good after the royal bath to feel clean from their sins.

  10. The Hindus have so many customs and rituals. I’ve read one of your other posts about Kumbh Mela and it sounded quite interesting, but Prayagraj Kumbh Mela seems even more colorful. I can’t help but admire these people’s devotion.

  11. I was reading about the arrangements there, indeed incredible the way the whole festival went through without any incident or accident. Great pictures! I am yet to visit a festival of this scale.

  12. I had never heard of Kumbh melas before or that it is held in 4 places. This looks like an amazing festival to take place and such a cool experience. I’m not sure I could handle the crowds

  13. I am shocked that it would even be possible for 30 million people to all gather in one place and bath in one day. That’s incredible. I’m also surprised it was ok to photograph the Naga Sadhus or Naga Babas

    1. Shocked?? 🙂

      Yes. Isn’t India strange? Naked sadhus are allowed to roam around in the name of religion whereas females are asked to cover up. 😛

  14. India is strange and wonderful. This looks like a great/intense experience. That is hardcore that you guys dipped in the water! I’ve never been brave enough. Did you guys get sick after?

  15. Fascinating read. Thanks for the introduction to this incredible festival which now recognized by UNESCO. The Naga Sadhus or Naga Babas are fascinating to see and seem to live quite incredible lives. Glad that it was a peaceful and clean event. With so many people, you never know how things can evolve.

  16. I’m sure it was a great experience. Thank you for bringing back these pictures and sharing them with us. That selfie picture is a great addition to this collection — a reminder of the times we live in. 🙂

  17. Never heard about this Prayag Kumbh Mela event. Looks like this is one of the lesser known religious activities in India that is really worth checking out. So nice to know that it is part of UNESCO intangible heritage list. I can see majority are locals so this means this event is so important to them.

  18. A very interesting festival! I’d like to attend one day and observe! The festival looks sacred but good thing they allow people and tourists to take photos of them. Do the Naga Sadhus live in Himalayas? Are they counted as saints? 30 Million people gather in one place – that’s like 6x Singaporeans population!

  19. Great Article … Loved the pictures. They are beautiful.
    Thank you for posting this article and sharing this amazing information .
    Keep posting !!

  20. First and foremost, the blog contains almost all relevant information about Kumbh Mela – importance, activities, attractions, facilities etc. But, the photographs are so unique and real. The pictures are so lively that only compilation of them is a guide and depiction of attraction of the Kumbh Mela. Kudos.

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