Kumbh Mela is a Hindu pilgrimage that attracts up to 10 million people, sadhus and yogis, who bathe in the Ganges, or in one of the other sacred Indian rivers, to return to the “primordial nectar ” so that they can break free from illusions, from the cycle of rebirth and merge into cosmic consciousness.
The origins of this myth are to be found in Hindu mythology. During the battle between the Demons and the Gods to take possession of the pitcher (kumbh) containing the Amrita – the nectar of immortality – four drops of nectar are said to have fallen from the cup in four corners of the earth and since then they have become sacred : Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik, Ujjain. It is in these four places that Kumbh Mela is celebrated every three years in rotation.
The pilgrimage is celebrated in different places, depending on the position of Jupiter and the sun. This year, Kumbh Mela was held in Ujjain, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, during the astral conjunction between Jupiter and the sign of Leo.
The most significant event during the whole festival is the ritual ablution on the banks of the sacred river Ganges in Haridwar, the Godavari in Nashik, the Shipra in Ujjain and the Sangam in Allahabad. During the festival, in addition to this ritual, religious assemblies and discussions are held, devotional songs are performed and food is donated to the wise men, women and the poor.
“Through the pictures that I took at Kumbh Mela in Ujjain, I wanted to show the ability of the Hindu faithful to live in a dimension of absolute timelessness,their deep contact with the earth, evident in the figures of Naga sadhus – who wear only ashes – and Aghoris who live in a dark dimension to reach the light.
I wanted to show the deep relation with Water, the daily ritual bath that is a festival of colours, reflections and mirrors that emphasise how life is “Maya”, illusion and dreams.