The largest religious gathering in the world begins on Jan. 14 in Allahabad, India. The Great Kumbh Mela occurs every 12 years and up to 100 million pilgrims are expected to bathe in the holy waters of the river Ganges during the 55-day event.
A devotee prays while others take a dip at Sangham, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, at day break.
Newly arrived Hindu devotees pause to look at the vast grounds which will receive the millions of Hindus that will congregate here.
A Sadhu, or holy man, walks with his earthly posessions on the vast grounds which will receive the millions of Hindu devotees that will congregate during Jan. and Feb.
Hindu devotees cross a makeshift bridge over the river Ganges as they arrive at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati.
A boy reacts to other devotees as his family pour water over his head at the waters edge at the Sangham. Worshippers believe a dip in the holy waters cleanses them of their sins.
Sadhus walk past a sand decoration after performing a ritual prayer at the water's edge at the Sangham.
Male devotees hold long stripes of clothing used to wrap themselves while bathing called Dhothis after they took a dip at the Sangham.
A Sadhu pours water from a conch shell as he prays on the banks of the holy Ganges river, while another Sadhu takes a photo of the river.
Indian Hindu pilgrims, some with shaved heads, take a dip at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati.