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 Sadhu holds his bag on his head as he arrives at Sangam.
Hindu devotees carry their posessions as they walk towards the banks of the holy Ganges river.
A woman arrives at Sangam carrying her goods.
A Hindu devotee gives a donation to Sadhus on the banks of the Ganges river.
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.
A devotee has river water poured over his head at the waters edge at the Sangham.
An Indian Hindu holy man puts vermilion paste after taking a dip at Sangam.
Devotees light a candle on an offering at the waters edge after having taken a dip at the Sangham.
Devotees pray while taking a dip at the Sangham.
Sadhus walk past a sand decoration after performing a ritual prayer at the water's edge at the Sangham.
A Devotee smeared with ash prays at the waters edge before taking a dip 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.
Indian Hindu women dry saris after taking a bath at Sangam.
Devotees crowd the edge of the Sangham or confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges river at day break.
An Indian Hindu holy man, or Sadhu, blows a conch or horn before taking a bath at Sangam.
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.
Sadhus, or holy men, take a dip at the Sangham.
A Sadhu blows a conch shell as other Sadhus bathe on the banks of the Ganges river.
A Sadhu dries his hair after taking a bath at Sangam.
Devotees dance in celebration after having taken a dip at the Sangam.
Indian Hindu pilgrims, some with shaved heads, take a dip at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati.
An Indian Hindu woman dries saris after taking a bath at Sangam.
A Sadhu takes a bath at Sangam.
A Hindu holy man drinks the river Ganges' water at Sangam.
A naked Hindu holy men, or a Naga Sadhu, performs a ritual at Sangam.
A Sadhu walks before taking a bath at Sangam.