The sea of humanity, saffron flags, millions of pilgrims, the smell of smoke from the holy fires, people with deep religious and ritualistic belief experiencing the power of devotion which turns the very water into amrit–the holy water of immortality. The largest religious faith gathering begins at Allahabad (now Prayagraj), in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
Ardh Kumbh Mela, the sacred 50 days long gathering that started on January 15 and ends on March 4, invites the huge Hindu- congregation at the ghats of Prayagraj from all over India and abroad following their religious instincts. The mass ritual bathing into the sacred river is the greatest gathering on earth. The holy bath is led by large group of naked Hindu Naga- sadhus with their ash-smeared bodies, chants of Har Har Gange along with millions of devotees.
Saffron draped monks, sadhus and sanyasis carry tridents which is a symbol of Hindu God Shiva, can be seen chanting prayers and blowing conch shells as they approach to join the huge congregation. Naga-sadhus make a grand entry on their carriages beautifully decked up, some with their shahi savari (royal chariots), some with horses and elephants, singing and dancing at the hymns of Lord Shiva. Several akhadas (Hindu religious groups) arrive in the holy city of Prayagraj and it was for the first time that Kinnars (transgenders) set their foot to participate in the holy march at Kumbh Mela.
Temi, South Sikkim
Ras Al Khaimah