The Ganges is only one part of Varanasi. It’s an important part, to be sure, but there’s a vibrant city/town as well. The river had to be included with the Kumbh Mela, but the town beyond the river stands alone.
The Kumbh Mela is a major pilgrimage and festival in Hinduism that draws tens of millions of Hindus together. It is celebrated in a cycle of approximately 12 years at four river-bank pilgrimage sites and at different times. This one took place in Allahabad [ancient holy city of Prayagraj], India at the confluence of the Ganges-Yamuna-Sarasvati rivers in February 2019. The festival is marked by a ritual dip in the waters, but it is also a celebration of community with numerous fairs, education, religious discourses by saints, mass feedings of monks for the poor, and entertainment spectacle.The seekers believe that bathing in these rivers is a means to prāyaścitta (atonement, penance) for past mistakes, and that it cleanses them of their past transgressions. The Kumbh Mela authorities said that the largest one-day attendance at the Kumbh Mela was 50 million on February 4 2019. More At Wikipedia.
Varanasi is down the Ganges river from Allahabad and is considered a sacred city. It is nearly impossible to separate the images from the Ganges in Varanasi and the images from the Kumbh Mela. The images from the streets of Varanasi will be presented in a different gallery.
David’s documentary work has always been done in black and white, but the Kumbh Mela and Varanasi screamed for color.