Archive for babas

Greatest Show on Earth

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 12, 2009 by stevemccurry

The Kumbh Mela has been called the world’s largest act of faith and the greatest show on earth.


Allahabad, 2001

Millions of pilgrims, sadhus and saints, politicians, and tourists arrive on foot, in private jets and helicopters, by taxi, horses, cars, and bikes to the largest gathering on the planet.


Allahabad, 2001

Pilgrims believe that bathing in the river will cleanse them of their sins.  Many shave their heads, so there are thousands of barbers to help them for a few rupees.


Allahabad, 2001

While visiting India, Mark Twain remarked that, “Pilgrims plodded for months in heat to get here, worn, poor and hungry, but sustained by unwavering faith.”


Allahabad, 2001


Haridwar, India, 1998

I  will be leading an expedition to the Kumbh Mela Festival from March 4 – 16, 2009.  The main attraction of this workshop and expedition is the Kumbh Mela festival.   We will be focusing on the images that participants take every day and I will help participants to put together a Mela portfolio. Over the course of the days in Haridwar we will witness the auspicious bathing day where people will travel from all over India via trains, buses and road to bathe in the Ganges.   This trip is almost sold out.  For information please contact


Allahabad, 2001

The Mela will be filled with all sorts of interesting characters: Sadhus, naked Babas who use the sky as their garment, animated beggars, street performers, people from every caste and sub caste of India. Old and young people all attend, and some very old people attend who are hoping to die while they attend the Mela so they can be cremated right there on the Ganges.


Ujjain, India


Steve McCurry and Sadhu in Allahabad, 2001


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