I just returned from the Kumbh mela in Prayagraj, which is believed to be the most significant human gathering ever. How insane is that?
The attendance figure is estimated at around 45-million mark, just for the days I attended. These estimates still blow my mind. We only saw a sliver of the Festival as we walked around it for 20 km.
Before I set off on such an epic adventure, I had some reservations. One of those was about my camera equipment.
The Canon EOS 5D is my preferred choice, but it’s costly and bulky. A large DSLR would not be the best choice when there were so many people, and it was such a focused event. Canon UK reached out to me and gave me the Canon PowerShot HS, a travel-focused camera.
The blog post, as well as the video clips, were shot with a new camera. A brief review of Canon PowerShot SX740HS is available at the end. Let me now tell you twenty facts about the Prayagrajkumbh Mela, a fantastic festival.
It is the largest human gathering anywhere on the planet.
The numbers for Kumbh Mela are astounding. Over the 49 days, more than 100,000,000 people will attend, and over 40 million are at the most auspicious days.
Millions of people come to the Kumbh Mela to dip in the rivers.
The Festival lasts for 49 days.
The 2019 Prayagraj Mela ran from February 15 to March 4, making the Festival’s entire days to 49. While some pilgrims and holy leaders will be present for the event, others will only visit on certain days.
A successful Kumbh requires planning and preparation.
Pre-planning is essential for a Kumbh Mela visit due to the many people involved. You must plan your trip, as roads and bridges may be closed at certain times.
There are four types of Kumbhs.
The Kumbh Mela occurs every six years, while the full Kumbh takes place every twelve years. Kumbh will be held every three years, while the Mahakumbh is held every 144 years. Although the Kumbh Mela is only half of the event, the 2019 crowds will be half of the full Kumbh.
Every three years, the Kumbh is held in four cities.
I have been to Haridwar before, which is one Kumb location. Kumbhs are also held in Ujjain, Nashik and Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh. The Prayagraj Kum is the most unique and oldest of all.
After a dip in Ganga, ladies dry their saris.
Tents take over Prayagraj, the capital of India.
Tent cities are set up everywhere in Prayagraj because of the many people who attend.
Temporary accommodation is everywhere, whether you are looking for luxury tent cities or those who bring their tents. Surprisingly, WiFi is available on all tent grounds.
Sadhus are one reason to visit.
Sadhus are among the most sacred people in Hinduism. For many, the Kumbh Mela is an unforgettable moment when they meet them and receive blessings.
The most auspicious Sadhus are Naga Sadhus. One of the main events is the procession that takes place on the most important bathing day. Sadhus lead it before dawn. Sadhus have given up all their earthly possessions, including clothes, and are now naked, except for their holy jewelry and accessories.
Prayagraj was once called Allahabad
Prayagraj is a city that was known until 2018 as Allahabad. The name was changed to Prayagraj, where the first part of the name means offering. This is a fitting title for one of India’s most sacred cities.
This Festival dates back over 2000 years ago.
The Prayagraj Kumbhmela, which dates back more than 2000 years, is the oldest of all four Kumb sites. A Chinese traveler provided the first written details about the Festival.
Street art complements Prayagraj’s colorful temples.
The dates of the Kumbh Mela are related to the planets.
These dates and times of the Kumbh do not come from random selections. They are determined based on the positions and combinations of the Moon and Sun, and Jupiter’s zodiac positions. These are also critical bathing dates.
A dip in the Ganges means a plunge into the holy water.
It is believed that the holy water of the Ganges will cleanse you from all your sins and make you forever blessed. This is why many people take a bath on particular dates. Many people take bottles of holy water with them to the sacred waters, which will lead them to salvation.
Prayagraj is unique because of the meeting of rivers.
The Triveni Sangam is the point where three rivers meet, and it’s also known as the Triveni Sangam. As you can see, the Yamuna and Ganges meet here. A mythical third river, the Saraswati, completes the trio. You can see where the two rivers meet, and the two colors of the water bodies collide.
More than 6000 cultural and religious groups are represented.
Apart from pilgrims who travel alone, land allocations can be given to various religious and cultural groups to allow them to host their guests. This Kumbh believes that there were more than 6000.
Take a small boat and cross the two rivers.
Hosting the Festival costs more than PS300 million.
It takes a lot of investment to host a large celebration. It costs more than PS300 million to host the 49-day program. This is an extraordinary amount of money for a cultural or spiritual event.
Many pilgrims can receive free or subsidized food at religious camps.
Many pilgrims will need to bring their supplies, especially if they have traveled long distances to be there. At the Festival, free or heavily subsidized food is given to pilgrims and Sadhus.
There are many other entertainment options at the Festival.
Other attractions include amusement parks, book shows, yoga programs, laser shows, and other religious and spiritual events.
UNESCO has listed the Kumbh Mela.
This is how important the event is. The UNESCO of Cultural heritages of humanity’ will list the Kumbh Mela.
Flowers and bathing at Kumbh Mela
In the Kumbh Mela, there are more than 120,000 toilets.
More than 120,000 toilets were installed at the 2019 Prayagraj Kumbh Mala to eliminate open defecation and maintain the cleanliness of the Kumbh site.
Security, safety, and sanitation are large operations.
Safety and security are crucial for tourists, pilgrims, and tourists who visit such an event. The control city is placed with an eye on the Mela area and the entire city. Minor incidents can be quickly dealt with by the security feeds that go to the control center.
There are over 20,000 jobs created in cleaning, trash sorting, processing, safety, security, and ambulances.
Waiting for Aarti to start
The 2019 Kumbh Mela aims to set 3 Guinness World Records – transport and sanitation, as well as city painting.
With the 2019 Kumbh Mela, the Uttar Pradesh government is chasing three Guinness World Records. This is due to the infrastructure and improvements they made to facilitate the event. These records focus on transport, sanitation, new street art, and urban painting during and up to the event.
Canon PowerShot SX740 HS Review
Overall, I was very impressed with the Canon PowerShot HS. As you can see in the photos, it performed well at such a significant event. These videos were created in Final Cut Pro, and the images were processed using Adobe Lightroom.
Sunrise at Varanasi
The best thing about this camera is that it can be carried around, so I don’t have to carry a heavy DSLR. I need 4K images and excellent image quality when traveling, so having it in my pocket was a huge advantage.
This incredible optical zoom of 40x was perfect for boat rides and large crowds. When zooming in, the image quality was also excellent in the right lighting. I could focus and sharpen my images thanks to the built-in stabilization system.
The two photos below indicate the quality of the zoom. They were taken from the same boat. Looking closely at the middle of the first picture, you will see a man sitting. This is the same man as in the second photo to the right. The zoom is fantastic.
You can use the camera’s manual controls and auto settings to set up different shoots, such as sports, portraits, and food. The camera doesn’t shoot in RAW, so all images are converted to JPG. I was impressed by the quality of the color shots. I didn’t even need to alter the colors in post-production. The flip-up screen is a great bonus and perfect for self-style filming.
I captured many memories thanks to the 4K and timelapse features. The PowerShot captured 90% of the videos I took at the Festival. My DSLR could only be used when it was dark, as the PowerShot couldn’t capture nighttime video, as is customary, given its price. I used the camera’s FHD and 4K resolutions at 50 FPS and 30 FPS, respectively, which I converted into slow motion in my editing.
Photography of the architecture of Lucknow
It was a welcome addition to my bag, and I will be taking it with me on my next travels. This is the best compact camera for travel if you don’t need a DSLR.