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Documenting the Kumbh Mela at Allahabad in 2013

What: In 2013, a team of skilled designers, filmmakers, photographers and scriptwriters collaborated with Anugraha (a design and publishing initiative) and spent a little over six weeks at the Mahakumbh in Allahabad (Prayag), documenting one of the biggest faith gatherings on earth.

Pilgrims with their belongings walk through the mela streets, view from from atop the Shastri Bridge (Volume 2: History, Mythology, Belief).  Pics courtesy/ Anugraha
Pilgrims with their belongings walk through the mela streets, view from from atop the Shastri Bridge (Volume 2: History, Mythology, Belief).  Pics courtesy/ Anugraha

It took place on the banks of the Sangam — the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. The Madhoor Group funded the project. Now, the team has put together The Kumbh Mela Experience, a three-day event featuring an exhibit preview from the book launch, documentary screenings, dance performances and curated talks.

Night shot of the Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, 2013 (Volume 1: Place, Time, Astronomy)
Night shot of the Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, 2013 (Volume 1: Place, Time, Astronomy)

How: The central exhibit showcases photographs, stories and excerpts from Being In It And Being Of It, a contemporary visual handbook divided into eight volumes comprising different themes of the mela. The books will be launched at the event.

Women in community kitchens offering their service by making meals for mela attendees. (Volume 4: Seva, Sadhana, Satsang)
Women in community kitchens offering their service by making meals for mela attendees. (Volume 4: Seva, Sadhana, Satsang)

From an Australian farmer who trotted across continents with his family to build his very own boat for the Kumbh to Mauni Baba, who has taken a vow of silence for 30 years and communicates only through writing, the books (with 1,600 images) cover a range of stories.

A milkman pours a litre of milk into the Ganga from atop the Shastri bridge before he begins his day’s delivery to his customers (Volume 7: Faith, Fate, Worship)
A milkman pours a litre of milk into the Ganga from atop the Shastri bridge before he begins his day’s delivery to his customers (Volume 7: Faith, Fate, Worship)

On a cold night, eager disciples hearing a sermon from their Guru as the Kumbh landscape transforms into a mega university for its duration (Volume 5: Guru, Disciple, University)
On a cold night, eager disciples hearing a sermon from their Guru as the Kumbh landscape transforms into a mega university for its duration (Volume 5: Guru, Disciple, University)

The banks by the Sangam curtained into colourful quadrants as morning bathers dry their clothes (Volume 8: Services, Sellers, Spectacle)
The banks by the Sangam curtained into colourful quadrants as morning bathers dry their clothes (Volume 8: Services, Sellers, Spectacle)

Householders lead a life of Kalpvas (renunciates) for a month, leaving behind the comforts of worldly life, living by the banks of the Ganga. (Volume 6: Abstinence, Penance, Charity)
Householders lead a life of Kalpvas (renunciates) for a month, leaving behind the comforts of worldly life, living by the banks of the Ganga. (Volume 6: Abstinence, Penance, Charity)

Conversations At The Kumbh Mela, a 56-minute long documentary directed by Yashodara Udupa, will also be screened at the event. Other highlights include a classical dance performance by Miti Desai, a musical performance by Carnatic and Hindustani Classical vocalists Vedanth Bharadwaj and Bindhu Malini, as well as a presentation by Gangadharan Menon.

Where: From July 25 to 27, 10 am to 6.30 pm
At: Warli Gallery, Nehru Centre, Discovery of India building, Worli. For the full schedule,
Log on to: www.facebook.com/events/130175797314837
RSVP info@thekumbhmelaexperience.com
Call: 25065355

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