In January 2001, the world witnessed a major historical event -- a religious festival held once every twelve years in the holy city of Prayag (Allahabhad), located in the ancient subcontinent of India; a festival involving the largest gathering of human beings ever to assemble on this planet: the Maha Kumbh Mela (Great Kumbh Mela). According to the Guinness Book of Records, the last Kumbh Mela, held in 1989, was the "greatest recorded number of human beings assembled with a common purpose" in history. In January an estimated 50 million people from all walks of life made a pilgrimage to this holy city for the Maha Kumbh Mela.

This forty-one day festival, popularly known as a festival of ascetics and saints, is the twelfth in a cycle of twelve, and thus makes it an occasion that occurs once every 144 years. Once in a lifetime.

Despite the significance and magnitude of the Maha Kumbh Mela, it is relatively unknown in the West. Our proposal is to create a documentary film, illustrated photo book, and interactive Web Site to make the incredible stories of the Kumbh Mela accessible to the world. The name for this tridemensional project is known as Sangam, an ancient Sanskrit term literally meeting “confluence”. According to the scriptures Sangam refers to the place of meeting of the three rivers: the Ganga, Yamuna, and the mythical river of knowledge known as Saraswati. We saw this as a fitting title since the concept of confluence is such a basic element of the Kumbha Mela. Not only as the three rivers, but more importantly, the sangam is a meeting of millions and millions of people, of ideas, and of ancient wisdom. The confluence of energies, the confluence of souls, the confluence of man and the Supreme Being.

All pictures on this site were taken by Diego Benavente and Vikas Malhotra. All information and material on this site, including photographs, video, audio, graphics, and text are © copyrighted by abORiginal PRoductions and may not be used or reproduced without the full consent from abOriginal productions who are wonderful people and can be contacted at vm2062@columbia.edu.

 

 

 

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