Every year during the Magh month of the Hindu calendar (around January-February of the Gregorian calendar), a 45-day spiritual gathering takes place at Allahabad, “The Magh Mela”. It is the mini version of the grand Kumbh, which comes once every 12 years, and the Maha Kumbh, which takes place once every 144 years. The Kumbh Mela is held at four places, namely, Ujjain, Nasik, Allahabad, and Haridwar. It is believed that Brahma, the creator of this universe, dropped the drops of an elixir he was carrying to heaven, at these four places. And this is what makes these four points on earth, very clean and divine. During the 45-day long festive conclave, there are 6 very auspicious days for bathing, called the “Shahi Snan Days”.
During the Magh Mela, on 16 Jan 2018 (Mauni Amavasya), the 3rd such shahi snan day in Allahabad, over 25 million people made their way to bathe at the confluence of the 3 rivers, the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the invisible Saraswati. The sangam, as it is called, is one of the most auspicious places according to Hindu mythology. Hope and faith, brings people from far and remote places. Men and women, boys and girls, from all parts of India, travel to bathe at the Sangam. A bath here is supposed to cleanse one’s soul, and free him/her from all the sins committed in the past. While walking around one of the largest human gatherings in the world, it is almost impossible to not notice, the women. They come dressed up, from head to toe, and in one 360-degree glance, all the visually perceptible colours of the spectrum can seen. From sari’s to pants, blouses to tunics, there’s a little bit of everything.
A group of women from the same village after completing their bathing session, a daughter helps her mother dress up.
This is a visual account of the colours that the women adorn, while they at staying at the Magh Mela, before returning back to their villages and towns. It is nothing less than a rainbow, VIBGYOR, not a single colour has been left out.
A Family on the Ghats just after bathing at the Sangam.
A Sadhu passes a group of Women
Bright Reds and Yellows, a pilgrim prepares to bathe after her long journey to Allahabad.
A boy looks on, as the women get dressed after completing their bathing sessions at the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati river.
Some women also maintain the age old adage of covering their faces in the presence of an elder.
The vibrant colours of the sari's seem to add a rich flavour to the surrounding Ghats
The ghats are noisy and full of life, with all the hustle-bustle due to the Festivities
Then, and Now.
One of the largest congregations of people all over the world, it brings together poeple from diverse groups. Above, a mother and daughter can be seen. The stark difference in what they wear, is an indication, of where we have come from and where we are headed.