The Kumbh Mela is a religious festival in India that attracted a record 150 million pilgrims this year of 2019. Also known as the world’s largest gathering of humanity, A Maha (“Great”) Kumbh Mela is held once every 12 years, with an Ardha (“Half”) held every six years after the Maha Kumbh Mela.
Kumbh Mela 2019 – India
Photography Project by Jose Jeuland
The Kumbh Mela is on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. A mass Hindu pilgrimage where Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred or holy river. History has it that the Kumbh Mela festival has been a regular event for over 2000 years and the determination for each site is based on astrological calculations of the positions of the Sun, Moon and planet Jupiter.
This year, the Kumbh Mela was held in the city of Allahabad. At the confluence of the three sacred rivers – the Ganges, the Yamuna and a mythical third river, the Saraswati. Worshippers bathe themselves in the holy waters that they believe will wash away their sins and deliver them to Moksha, liberating them from a cycle of birth and death and leaving them eternally blessed.
Travel and Documentary Photography of The Kumbh Mela 2019
Jose was fortunate enough to be a witness to this passionate gathering of faith and humanity. Travelling solo, Jose found himself immersed in the thick tradition and culture of India.
From being a spectator of gravity defying stunts at the Wall of Death. Getting shoved into the waters with 40 to 50 million thronging pilgrims and connecting with people of all ages in this major celebration of peace and harmony. The simplest way to explain Jose’s experience in his own words are: “It was out of this world. I felt like I was in a movie.”