Sadhus Kumbh Mela India
TheKumbh Mela takes places every 4 years, switching between 3 cities. In 2013, the Maha Kumbh Mela took place in Allahabad. 100 million pilgrims came, making it the biggest gathering of humans in history.
Photos and words by Eric Lafforgue
The Kumbh Mela provides an opportunity for young people to join the order of the Sadhus. This boy is in the process of joining. He has not yet cut his hair, a symbol indicating that he has renounced his past life. The young recruits are shaven, their hair put into a ball and buried on the banks of the Ganges. After staying up all night, the initiates take their first bath. Access to this ceremony is strictly forbidden. A young Sadhu spends his days blessing believers who come touch his feet as a sign of respect. He rubs their foreheads with ceremonial ash. He also smokes illegal substances to better open his mind.
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