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A Sadhu (Hindu Holy Man) making last minute preparations, putting on his make-up for the Ardh Kumbh Mela on the holy shores of Allahabad.
Kumbh Mela is known as the largest religious gathering in the world. Kumbha (Kumbha means pot) Mela (means fair) is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage that occurs four times every twelve years, once at each of the four locations of India : Prayag, Allahabad (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of three holy rivers - Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and Saraswati. Haridwar (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) where the river Ganga enters the plains from Himalayas Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), on the banks of Shipra river, and Nasik (in Maharashtra) on the banks of Godavari river. Ardh Kumbh Mela or Half-Kumbh Mela takes place in these four locations during the sixth year of the twelve year cycle. This is the festival of wishes. People from every religion and caste are present in the festival in one or another form, saints and sacred performers from every caste are present in the festival. The fair ground takes the shape of mini India. Different types of language, tradition-culture, dress, food, way of living can be witnessed in this festival where millions of people reach without any invitation.
This year the Ardh Kumbh Mela which began on 3rd January is being held at Allahabad. Over the next five weeks 70 million devotees is expected to take the holy bath at Prayag.

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Additional Photos by Sabyasachi Talukdar (sabyasachi1212) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3140 W: 281 N: 5210] (19779)
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