The People of the Kumbh

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Text by Patty Simon | Images by Dick Simon


Arriving back exhausted to our tent camp 12 hours from 1 in the morning til 1pm, I just witnessed the largest gathering of humanity celebrating spiritualism with a capital “S”!

After a rest of 15 hours, I wake up contemplating how I would describe something so enormous, so overwhelming to all the senses even down into your soul.

You see, I am an artist and wonder what medium I would use… Dirt, representing the riverbank where the Kumbh is located? Water, representing the sacred river for bathing in the Ganges? The Gates of the Gurus complexes… all unique in design… A collection of Prayer Beads and Shrines… representing all the gods revered or would it be a moving Procession of Gurus atop silver palanquins and embroidered umbrellas.

My mind says “No!” to all these ideas. It should be about the millions of People… Individual Portraits of each visitor, follower, foreigner and holy man. Each one framed beautifully and lined up row after row in a nice, neat grid – just like the Kumbh Mela. If I could work magic, I would give the viewer an opportunity to gaze at each person’s soul and spiritual journey… the yearning to be better, to live together in peace, love and harmony.

That is the Kumbh Mela to me!


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