Stunning portraits taken in and around Haridwar and Rishikesh during the Kumbh Mela festival, March 2010.

One of the worlds largest festivals, the Kumbh Mela will often have millions of participants gather together for special ‘bathing days,’ on which they will ceremoniously dip into the holy river water.

This portraiture series features not only some of the unique looking ‘holy men’ that wander the banks of the Ganges but also many of the local community that live, eat, and pray alongside the holiest river in India…the Ganges.

If you like what you see, visit the photographer at his website.

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Naga Baba, one of the Naked Sadhus that wander and perform rites along the Ganges during Kumbh Mela.

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(left) A woman carries a heavy load of firewood back to her camp; it will be used for a ceremonial Pooja. (right) Swami Yogananda just turned 102 and is active and spritely as can be, practing Yoga and breath work every day.

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Rajendra, crippled from birth, has shifted from begging to taking computer classes.

Intermission
1

For the rivers: Reflections on the 2013 Kumbh Mela, India

by Bess Prescott
13

Window on India

by Allison Heiliczer
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Portraits of Varanasi, India

by Alex Blauhorn
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(left) A baba takes rest in his forest home. (right) This friendly and wise Saddhu invited us in for a warm cup of chai.

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(left) Alongside the Ganges, an old man devotes his life to looking after dogs and puppies. (right) One of the many colorful characters to be found during the Kumbh Mela festival.

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A young girl hides in the fields alongside the Home for Destitute Children in Rishikesh.

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Yogi Vishwa loves his morning Yoga practice by the river.

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(left) Whether in a temple or alongside the road...home is where the heart is. (right) A beggar with his walking stick rests against a wall in Rishikesh.

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Basanti works as a gardener in the fields of Rishikesh.

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(left) Mother and child. (right) A holy man holds his hand up in a mudra.

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Yogi Vishva meditates on the radiance of the soul.