Tens of millions of Hindu pilgrims are currently downhill on Allahabad, India, joining a calculable eight million already there for the Maha Kumbh Mela. Command every twelve years at one of four places in India, the Kumbh Mela lasts nearly 2 months and is considered to be a particularly auspicious time to bathe in the holy river for purification from sin. In 2001, the last time the festival took place, more than forty million folks gathered in a locality smaller than twenty sq kilometers (7.7 sq mi). This year, the predicted number of tourists crack one hundred million. Collected here are pictures from the preparation and initial days of the Maha Kumbh Mela, with possibly additional to return within the next few weeks.
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