A young girl balances on a tight rope while another stands stoically below to collect money from bystanders.

A young girl balances on a tight rope while another stands stoically below to collect money from bystanders.

 Woman stands amidst flower petals on the edge of the Ganges.

Woman stands amidst flower petals on the edge of the Ganges.

 Woman cleans clothes at the roadside faucet.

Woman cleans clothes at the roadside faucet.

 Sadhu meditates in his tent while offering blessings to passerby’s

Sadhu meditates in his tent while offering blessings to passerby’s

 Women hang sarees out to dry

Women hang sarees out to dry

 Woman rests on a bale of hay.

Woman rests on a bale of hay.

 Women sleeps in here roadside tent as she sells wares.

Women sleeps in here roadside tent as she sells wares.

 Girl gazes through the bars of a passing Tuk Tuk

Girl gazes through the bars of a passing Tuk Tuk

 Three young women bathe in the Ganges at sunset.

Three young women bathe in the Ganges at sunset.

 People gather beneath a painted cement bridge within the Mela.

People gather beneath a painted cement bridge within the Mela.

 Man sits with staff in abandoned building where his family is residing during the mela.

Man sits with staff in abandoned building where his family is residing during the mela.

 Group of women led through the Mela.

Group of women led through the Mela.

 Mother and child march towards the center of the mela

Mother and child march towards the center of the mela

 A mother sits with her toddler and sells produce roadside.

A mother sits with her toddler and sells produce roadside.

 Man bathes in the Ganges between two of the temporary bridges built to allow passage to and from the mela.

Man bathes in the Ganges between two of the temporary bridges built to allow passage to and from the mela.

 Woman pours the holy water of the Ganges from her hands

Woman pours the holy water of the Ganges from her hands

 Elder women bathe in the Ganges

Elder women bathe in the Ganges

 A Kinnar Akada (transgender) enters living quarters

A Kinnar Akada (transgender) enters living quarters

 Woman prepares colored pigment to apply a bindi to her forehead

Woman prepares colored pigment to apply a bindi to her forehead

 A group of women sing as they walk towards Sangam, the confluence of the holy rivers.

A group of women sing as they walk towards Sangam, the confluence of the holy rivers.

 A frenzy of  Naga Sadhu’s celebrate Shahi Snan at Sangam, the confluence of three holy rivers.

A frenzy of Naga Sadhu’s celebrate Shahi Snan at Sangam, the confluence of three holy rivers.

 Woman folds fabric in preparation for the morning walk to the river.

Woman folds fabric in preparation for the morning walk to the river.

 Two young girls await their morning trek to the Ganges

Two young girls await their morning trek to the Ganges

 A group of women begin their early morning trek to Sangam

A group of women begin their early morning trek to Sangam

 Women push through the throng to  pray and offer fruit and flowers as pooja

Women push through the throng to pray and offer fruit and flowers as pooja

 Huddled by a fire, a family gathers on the outskirts of the Mela, preparing for their morning walk to Ganga.

Huddled by a fire, a family gathers on the outskirts of the Mela, preparing for their morning walk to Ganga.

 Women push through the crowd to bring puja offerings to the Ganges.

Women push through the crowd to bring puja offerings to the Ganges.

 A basket of paper boats filled with Pooja offerings to be sent down the river

A basket of paper boats filled with Pooja offerings to be sent down the river

 Petals float in the Ganges as men and women gather to bathe

Petals float in the Ganges as men and women gather to bathe

 Sadhu stands stoically in the cold waters of the Ganges for almost an hour

Sadhu stands stoically in the cold waters of the Ganges for almost an hour

 Body floats seemingly lifeless in the Ganges for several minutes

Body floats seemingly lifeless in the Ganges for several minutes

 Mayuri Ma belongs to a sect of transgender Sadhus known within Hinduism as the Kinnar Akada. Like many transgenders in India, she faced the persistent and malicious discrimination that often led others to begging and prostitution. Her strength and ability to endure suffering led her to become a Kinnar Akada, where she can be a voice for those who are voiceless. When I asked her what made her different she replied “A stone cannot be sculpted without a few good hits, every thread in my saree is sewed with pain, and that made me different.” This year, she and her sisters, attend the Kumbh Mela for the first time.

Mayuri Ma belongs to a sect of transgender Sadhus known within Hinduism as the Kinnar Akada. Like many transgenders in India, she faced the persistent and malicious discrimination that often led others to begging and prostitution. Her strength and ability to endure suffering led her to become a Kinnar Akada, where she can be a voice for those who are voiceless. When I asked her what made her different she replied “A stone cannot be sculpted without a few good hits, every thread in my saree is sewed with pain, and that made me different.” This year, she and her sisters, attend the Kumbh Mela for the first time.

 Mayuri Ma, a kinnar akada (transgender), prepares to leave her tent to give blessings to her followers.

Mayuri Ma, a kinnar akada (transgender), prepares to leave her tent to give blessings to her followers.

 Mayuri Ma blesses coins and receives money offerings from followers.

Mayuri Ma blesses coins and receives money offerings from followers.

 Women gather at the shores of the ganges, pouring water from lota pots, lighting puja offerings and performing ablutions

Women gather at the shores of the ganges, pouring water from lota pots, lighting puja offerings and performing ablutions

 Two sadhu’s (Hindu sages/priests) converse while a man stirs a giant kettle of milk representing the Samudra Manthan, an auspicious ocean of milk from Vedic mythology. This scene, peppered with religious symbolism, was one of countless others within the grand theater of the Mela. Every street, a cast of characters with stories and wisdom to share. But this was far more than pageantry. This was a reflection of the dense and diverse Hindu culture. This was a glimpse into millennia. These were the most ancient of stories being lived today.

Two sadhu’s (Hindu sages/priests) converse while a man stirs a giant kettle of milk representing the Samudra Manthan, an auspicious ocean of milk from Vedic mythology. This scene, peppered with religious symbolism, was one of countless others within the grand theater of the Mela. Every street, a cast of characters with stories and wisdom to share. But this was far more than pageantry. This was a reflection of the dense and diverse Hindu culture. This was a glimpse into millennia. These were the most ancient of stories being lived today.

 Woman stands afield, drying clothes in the sun

Woman stands afield, drying clothes in the sun

 Young girl who lives on the outskirt of the mela

Young girl who lives on the outskirt of the mela

20190203-DSC_0133-redux.jpg
 Two cows huddled in living quarters overlooking the Mela

Two cows huddled in living quarters overlooking the Mela

 Sadhu’s bound in decorative rope march through the mela center.

Sadhu’s bound in decorative rope march through the mela center.

 Vimla, age 60, has lived on the outskirts of the mela with her children and grand children for 3 generations.

Vimla, age 60, has lived on the outskirts of the mela with her children and grand children for 3 generations.

 One month old granddaughter of Vimla sleeps on cot.

One month old granddaughter of Vimla sleeps on cot.

 Families clutter together in the densely packed central mela area.

Families clutter together in the densely packed central mela area.

 Two young women pray in the Ganges

Two young women pray in the Ganges

 Woman dwelling in an abandoned building

Woman dwelling in an abandoned building

 A man stands, captured in crimson light, downloading the teachings from the glowing roadside sadhu. Here at Kumbh consciousness moves. It is pulled and pushed. For some it shrinks and others it expands.

A man stands, captured in crimson light, downloading the teachings from the glowing roadside sadhu. Here at Kumbh consciousness moves. It is pulled and pushed. For some it shrinks and others it expands.

 A woman dries her bright orange saree in the midday sun, likely after dipping it in the Ganges during her morning trip to Sangam. This strange yet beautiful occurrence became common place by the time I’d left the Kumbh. I will always remember these little moments which pop with color and mystery.

A woman dries her bright orange saree in the midday sun, likely after dipping it in the Ganges during her morning trip to Sangam. This strange yet beautiful occurrence became common place by the time I’d left the Kumbh. I will always remember these little moments which pop with color and mystery.

 A woman and a young girl in a market in Allahabad, though divided, share the same expression

A woman and a young girl in a market in Allahabad, though divided, share the same expression

 Women visits local shrine to pray to the Gods

Women visits local shrine to pray to the Gods

20190205-DSC_0611-redux.jpg
 Naga Sadhu’s joyously celebrate Shahi Snan, one of the holiest days in Hinduism.

Naga Sadhu’s joyously celebrate Shahi Snan, one of the holiest days in Hinduism.

20190205-DSC_0555-redux.jpg
20190206-DSC_0715-redux.jpg
20190206-DSC_0718-redux.jpg
 Hundreds of  Sadhu’s prepare to rush into the Ganges for the celebration of Shahi Snan

Hundreds of Sadhu’s prepare to rush into the Ganges for the celebration of Shahi Snan

20190205-DSC_0676-redux.jpg
 Little Chand who’s name means Moon in Hindi, stares intently with dark Kajal around her eyes.

Little Chand who’s name means Moon in Hindi, stares intently with dark Kajal around her eyes.

 Chanda Devi, age 70, lives in a small swampy copse just outside of Sangam with her children and grandchildren.

Chanda Devi, age 70, lives in a small swampy copse just outside of Sangam with her children and grandchildren.


 A lone white horse and its rider cross the temporary bridge towards Sangam

A lone white horse and its rider cross the temporary bridge towards Sangam

 A Kinnar Akada (transgender) applies makeup

A Kinnar Akada (transgender) applies makeup

 Woman prays to Mother Ganga

Woman prays to Mother Ganga

 Young boys dress as girls and ask for money

Young boys dress as girls and ask for money

 A young girl balances on a tight rope while another stands stoically below to collect money from bystanders.
 Woman stands amidst flower petals on the edge of the Ganges.
 Woman cleans clothes at the roadside faucet.
 Sadhu meditates in his tent while offering blessings to passerby’s
 Women hang sarees out to dry
 Woman rests on a bale of hay.
 Women sleeps in here roadside tent as she sells wares.
 Girl gazes through the bars of a passing Tuk Tuk
 Three young women bathe in the Ganges at sunset.
 People gather beneath a painted cement bridge within the Mela.
 Man sits with staff in abandoned building where his family is residing during the mela.
 Group of women led through the Mela.
 Mother and child march towards the center of the mela
 A mother sits with her toddler and sells produce roadside.
 Man bathes in the Ganges between two of the temporary bridges built to allow passage to and from the mela.
 Woman pours the holy water of the Ganges from her hands
 Elder women bathe in the Ganges
 A Kinnar Akada (transgender) enters living quarters
 Woman prepares colored pigment to apply a bindi to her forehead
 A group of women sing as they walk towards Sangam, the confluence of the holy rivers.
 A frenzy of  Naga Sadhu’s celebrate Shahi Snan at Sangam, the confluence of three holy rivers.
 Woman folds fabric in preparation for the morning walk to the river.
 Two young girls await their morning trek to the Ganges
 A group of women begin their early morning trek to Sangam
 Women push through the throng to  pray and offer fruit and flowers as pooja
 Huddled by a fire, a family gathers on the outskirts of the Mela, preparing for their morning walk to Ganga.
 Women push through the crowd to bring puja offerings to the Ganges.
 A basket of paper boats filled with Pooja offerings to be sent down the river
 Petals float in the Ganges as men and women gather to bathe
 Sadhu stands stoically in the cold waters of the Ganges for almost an hour
 Body floats seemingly lifeless in the Ganges for several minutes
 Mayuri Ma belongs to a sect of transgender Sadhus known within Hinduism as the Kinnar Akada. Like many transgenders in India, she faced the persistent and malicious discrimination that often led others to begging and prostitution. Her strength and ability to endure suffering led her to become a Kinnar Akada, where she can be a voice for those who are voiceless. When I asked her what made her different she replied “A stone cannot be sculpted without a few good hits, every thread in my saree is sewed with pain, and that made me different.” This year, she and her sisters, attend the Kumbh Mela for the first time.
 Mayuri Ma, a kinnar akada (transgender), prepares to leave her tent to give blessings to her followers.
 Mayuri Ma blesses coins and receives money offerings from followers.
 Women gather at the shores of the ganges, pouring water from lota pots, lighting puja offerings and performing ablutions
 Two sadhu’s (Hindu sages/priests) converse while a man stirs a giant kettle of milk representing the Samudra Manthan, an auspicious ocean of milk from Vedic mythology. This scene, peppered with religious symbolism, was one of countless others within the grand theater of the Mela. Every street, a cast of characters with stories and wisdom to share. But this was far more than pageantry. This was a reflection of the dense and diverse Hindu culture. This was a glimpse into millennia. These were the most ancient of stories being lived today.
 Woman stands afield, drying clothes in the sun
 Young girl who lives on the outskirt of the mela
20190203-DSC_0133-redux.jpg
 Two cows huddled in living quarters overlooking the Mela
 Sadhu’s bound in decorative rope march through the mela center.
 Vimla, age 60, has lived on the outskirts of the mela with her children and grand children for 3 generations.
 One month old granddaughter of Vimla sleeps on cot.
 Families clutter together in the densely packed central mela area.
 Two young women pray in the Ganges
 Woman dwelling in an abandoned building
 A man stands, captured in crimson light, downloading the teachings from the glowing roadside sadhu. Here at Kumbh consciousness moves. It is pulled and pushed. For some it shrinks and others it expands.
 A woman dries her bright orange saree in the midday sun, likely after dipping it in the Ganges during her morning trip to Sangam. This strange yet beautiful occurrence became common place by the time I’d left the Kumbh. I will always remember these little moments which pop with color and mystery.
 A woman and a young girl in a market in Allahabad, though divided, share the same expression
 Women visits local shrine to pray to the Gods
20190205-DSC_0611-redux.jpg
 Naga Sadhu’s joyously celebrate Shahi Snan, one of the holiest days in Hinduism.
20190205-DSC_0555-redux.jpg
20190206-DSC_0715-redux.jpg
20190206-DSC_0718-redux.jpg
 Hundreds of  Sadhu’s prepare to rush into the Ganges for the celebration of Shahi Snan
20190205-DSC_0676-redux.jpg
 Little Chand who’s name means Moon in Hindi, stares intently with dark Kajal around her eyes.
 Chanda Devi, age 70, lives in a small swampy copse just outside of Sangam with her children and grandchildren.
 A lone white horse and its rider cross the temporary bridge towards Sangam
 A Kinnar Akada (transgender) applies makeup
 Woman prays to Mother Ganga
 Young boys dress as girls and ask for money

A young girl balances on a tight rope while another stands stoically below to collect money from bystanders.

Woman stands amidst flower petals on the edge of the Ganges.

Woman cleans clothes at the roadside faucet.

Sadhu meditates in his tent while offering blessings to passerby’s

Women hang sarees out to dry

Woman rests on a bale of hay.

Women sleeps in here roadside tent as she sells wares.

Girl gazes through the bars of a passing Tuk Tuk

Three young women bathe in the Ganges at sunset.

People gather beneath a painted cement bridge within the Mela.

Man sits with staff in abandoned building where his family is residing during the mela.

Group of women led through the Mela.

Mother and child march towards the center of the mela

A mother sits with her toddler and sells produce roadside.

Man bathes in the Ganges between two of the temporary bridges built to allow passage to and from the mela.

Woman pours the holy water of the Ganges from her hands

Elder women bathe in the Ganges

A Kinnar Akada (transgender) enters living quarters

Woman prepares colored pigment to apply a bindi to her forehead

A group of women sing as they walk towards Sangam, the confluence of the holy rivers.

A frenzy of Naga Sadhu’s celebrate Shahi Snan at Sangam, the confluence of three holy rivers.

Woman folds fabric in preparation for the morning walk to the river.

Two young girls await their morning trek to the Ganges

A group of women begin their early morning trek to Sangam

Women push through the throng to pray and offer fruit and flowers as pooja

Huddled by a fire, a family gathers on the outskirts of the Mela, preparing for their morning walk to Ganga.

Women push through the crowd to bring puja offerings to the Ganges.

A basket of paper boats filled with Pooja offerings to be sent down the river

Petals float in the Ganges as men and women gather to bathe

Sadhu stands stoically in the cold waters of the Ganges for almost an hour

Body floats seemingly lifeless in the Ganges for several minutes

Mayuri Ma belongs to a sect of transgender Sadhus known within Hinduism as the Kinnar Akada. Like many transgenders in India, she faced the persistent and malicious discrimination that often led others to begging and prostitution. Her strength and ability to endure suffering led her to become a Kinnar Akada, where she can be a voice for those who are voiceless. When I asked her what made her different she replied “A stone cannot be sculpted without a few good hits, every thread in my saree is sewed with pain, and that made me different.” This year, she and her sisters, attend the Kumbh Mela for the first time.

Mayuri Ma, a kinnar akada (transgender), prepares to leave her tent to give blessings to her followers.

Mayuri Ma blesses coins and receives money offerings from followers.

Women gather at the shores of the ganges, pouring water from lota pots, lighting puja offerings and performing ablutions

Two sadhu’s (Hindu sages/priests) converse while a man stirs a giant kettle of milk representing the Samudra Manthan, an auspicious ocean of milk from Vedic mythology. This scene, peppered with religious symbolism, was one of countless others within the grand theater of the Mela. Every street, a cast of characters with stories and wisdom to share. But this was far more than pageantry. This was a reflection of the dense and diverse Hindu culture. This was a glimpse into millennia. These were the most ancient of stories being lived today.

Woman stands afield, drying clothes in the sun

Young girl who lives on the outskirt of the mela

Two cows huddled in living quarters overlooking the Mela

Sadhu’s bound in decorative rope march through the mela center.

Vimla, age 60, has lived on the outskirts of the mela with her children and grand children for 3 generations.

One month old granddaughter of Vimla sleeps on cot.

Families clutter together in the densely packed central mela area.

Two young women pray in the Ganges

Woman dwelling in an abandoned building

A man stands, captured in crimson light, downloading the teachings from the glowing roadside sadhu. Here at Kumbh consciousness moves. It is pulled and pushed. For some it shrinks and others it expands.

A woman dries her bright orange saree in the midday sun, likely after dipping it in the Ganges during her morning trip to Sangam. This strange yet beautiful occurrence became common place by the time I’d left the Kumbh. I will always remember these little moments which pop with color and mystery.

A woman and a young girl in a market in Allahabad, though divided, share the same expression

Women visits local shrine to pray to the Gods

Naga Sadhu’s joyously celebrate Shahi Snan, one of the holiest days in Hinduism.

Hundreds of Sadhu’s prepare to rush into the Ganges for the celebration of Shahi Snan

Little Chand who’s name means Moon in Hindi, stares intently with dark Kajal around her eyes.

Chanda Devi, age 70, lives in a small swampy copse just outside of Sangam with her children and grandchildren.


A lone white horse and its rider cross the temporary bridge towards Sangam

A Kinnar Akada (transgender) applies makeup

Woman prays to Mother Ganga

Young boys dress as girls and ask for money

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