Pilgrims bathe in the Ganges River at HaridwarA kilomerters long line of pilgrims moving toward the Sangam, a Tirtha outside AllahabadA blind man emerges after a bath in the GangesSangam: a makeshift spiritual megalopolisSacred bath in the Ganges at HaridwarPilgrims come to bathe in the Ganges at the Kumbh Mela in HaridwarA constant flow of pilgrims, millions upon millionsSolitude amongst the crowds PilgrimsNight. PilgrimNaked ascetics from an order of warrior monks carry a trident, an emblem of the god Shiva to whom they are devoted, and a halberd, symbolizing their readiness to defend their beliefs with the force of armsHundreds of thousands of naked ascetics and other renunciants gather at the Kumbh MelaApart from the naked ascetics, the Kumbh Mela attracts droves of holy men of all sorts, real and fakeSadhuNaked ascetics of Juna Akhara prepared for their procession to bathe in the Ganges River, a spiritual CrossingStudy and meditationOfferingA blind sadhu smokes hashish on the banks of the GangesGanesh BabaSome ascetics engage in self-mortification as part of their spiritual practiceThe greatest show on earthThe Royal BathA sadhu of Juna Akhara blesses the order's weapons, a collection of spears, pikes, halberds and swordsThe ghosts of armies pastProcessionAscetics of Juna Akhara, the Ancient Circle, proceed to their bath in the riverAt the most astrologically auspicious moment excited sadhus rush to bathe in the Tirtha where the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati rivers conjoinAscetics paying respects to their guruNew initiates of the Juna Akhara order of naked asceticsOrdinationAsceticToday's ascetics are living links in a tradition at least four thousand years old, their knowledge passed along from master to disciple for scores of generationsFemale renunciants at the Kumbh MelaPilgrims sit waiting for foodPrayer to Mother GangaPeople bathe in the Ganges River at HaridwarThree generations of pilgrimsRestingPilgrims wait anxiously for other members of their groupMissing persons postersPilgrims at HaridwarSacred Flame