In Allahabad, northern India, a megacity of millions is sprouting up at the confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges rivers. For millennia, Hindu devotees have flocked to these holy banks to participate in a ritual cleansing known as the Kumbh Mela; this year’s Maha Kumbh Mela is a particularly auspicious iteration in cycles of these pilgrimages, which occur four times every 12 years. In 2001, nearly 70 million flocked to the Ganges’ shores here.
More Photography from Time
- Scenes from Pakistan’s Historic Election
- Dutch Abdication: Willem-Alexander Becomes Europe’s Youngest Monarch
- Aleppo: Scenes from a City of Ruins
- The Epic Vistas of the World’s Largest Algae Farm
- Bangladesh’s Worst Industrial Accident: Scenes From a Terrifying Tragedy
- Deadly Earthquake Strikes China’s Sichuan Province