Naga Sadhus of Varanasi
These are my naga sadhu friends I met in the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, and we met again in Varanasi when they moved there for the next celebrations.
We were lucky to have survived the big crazy storm that lasted for 2 days after the bathing day in the Kumbh Mela. Many tents had collasped and many sections were flooded in. It was sorta a mini Kumbh Mela gathering once again.
More images of the largest festival in the world, the Kumbh Mela Festival of India where 40 million people visited this month long event.
Enjoying the smokes of marijuana weed, the Sadhu Holy man decidedly sat right in front of me and performed the smoking rituals of getting high. – in Allahabad, India. No, he did not offer any smokes to me. Oh well.
The couple walked all the way from Bihar, India. They came with others fromtheir village and camped along the banks for a month. Most pilgrims visited the Kumbh Mela for the first time as it was expensive to travel and most of the villages are extremely poor. Official holy bathing days were the best time to visit the Kumbh Mela, these village folks were so happy being here and I could feel their excitement. The whole river bank were filled with joyful people laughing after taking their holy bath to wash away their karma.
This pilgrim just taken the holy bath in the icy cold waters of the holy river and was looking for his group. Often with such large crowds and queuing for their chance of bathing taking to wash away their karma, people get lost. Often the speakers installed around the river banks would having announcements of people looking for their lost relative among the millions
Kumbh Mela 2013 – the greatest bathing festival in Allahabad, India where 40 million pilgrims visit the holy rivers to wash away their karma
A naked holy naga sadhu performs tricks with his genitals, it was become a performance to entertain passerbys. To become a naked naga sadhu, this was part of the initiation as a way to test the body, representing full detachment even to one’s body and sexual desires. It is said that to become a full naga, one has to go thru a series of rigid test, including breaking their own penis and dipping themselves in the freezing waters of the Ganges 108 times.
The Naga Sadhus, famous for their nakedness running to take their holy bath in the ganges river.
Once every 12 years, the largest bathing festival happens in Allabahad, Central India. This 2013, more than 40 million pilgrimages visited this temporary mega city, aptly named Mega Tent city. Makeshift tents, ashrams, temples are built, organised in mini towns with its own hospital clinic and police stations. For the 1.5 months, pilgrimages and religious Holy people, the famous naked sadhus come and gather and await to take their holy bath in the rivers to wash away their karma.
It was one of my greatest experience, especially during special bathing days where millions would gather to take a short dip in the freezing waters to wash their sins away.