Pilgrim

Hundreds of men stopped me, asking me to take their photo. Then they thanked me – even though they would never see their photo, they were honoured that I’d taken their image. It was rare however that they’d smile. For most Indian people a portrait is a straight faced moment. Pilgrim The Kumbh Mela is a festival driven my love and faith. Millions of pilgrims came to Allahabad, on the banks of the Ganges, to celebrate. Despite the crowds and the 24 hour party, it was peaceful. What an incredible place. And a testament to town planning – to build sewage systems that efficient and odourless, for that many people? Amazing.

Naga Babas

After a sleepless, hash-infused night at the Kumbh Mela, these Naga Babas were almost ready for the big run to the Ganges. Naga Babas Their initiation almost complete, with the sun rising after a long cold night, they prepared for the craziest part of the festival.

Initiates

We rounded the corner of some tents, appreciating the quality of the impressive toilets at the festival, whereupon, spread before our eyes, under a blazing sun, was a field of almost naked naga baba initiates. I was stunned. This was a significant part of the ceremony, and there were no other western people there – I was so very privileged see this. Initiates There were older saddhus walking amongst them, handing things out with the air of school teachers overseeing exams.