Special Report:  Kumbha Mela 2001



Visit our Photo Gallery Index. There are 52 pages of excellent photos and commentary indexed by date.

This page was last updated on February 25, 2001

The Kumbh Mela is over and cleanup has begun. Allahabad is getting back to normal. Read Tony's final report from the mela and be sure to check out the final photographs.

Stay tuned for more articles on the Kumbh Mela along with photo essays from other parts of India to be posted in the coming weeks.

See photos of Maha Shivratri, the last day of this Kumbh Mela on Feb. 21, 2001. On this final day pilgrims honored Shiva in temples and at the Sangam. Also read Tony's article about Maha Shivratri.

The Maha Kumbha Mela is held every twelve years in Allahabad in the state of Uttar Pradesh in Northern India. It is the largest gathering of people for one purpose in the world with an expected attendance of 25 million people. For more information on what the Kumbha Mela is, click here.

Bathing dates: The Auspicious Dates for bathing in the Holy Ganga during the MahaKumbh of 2001 were:

January 9 Paush Purnima
January 14 Makar Sankranti
t January 24 Mauni Amavasya
January 29 Basant Panchami
February 8 Maghi Purnima
February 21 Maha Shivatri
t The most auspicious date, when there was the maximum number of participants.

Click on the map above to see more maps of the Kumbha Mela.

Glossary of Hindu terms used here.

Weather In Allahabad from CNN

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News and Articles

Feb. 25, 2001 Saying Goodbye to the Kumbha Mela - by Tony Fernandes

This is the last illustrated report from the Maha Kumbha Mela 2001. We maintained coverage of this unique event in spite many difficulties. We made sure we were here before the beginning and stayed on till after the end. Since I am leaving Allahabad tomorrow morning there will be no more regular updates from here. However, we will be posting illustrated reports from other parts of India. Articles on the Kumbha Mela will be posted to this site over the next few weeks and months.  Read more...
Feb. 23, 2001 Maha Shivratri Photos - by Tony Fernandes

The Kumbh Mela has ended with Maha Shivratri. Tony took photos not only at the Sangam but also at Shiva temples in the vicinity of Allahabad. The next Kumbh Mela at Allahabad will not be until the year 2013.



Feb. 22, 2001 Kumbh Mela 2001 ends with Maha Shivratri - by Tony Fernandes
Maha Shivratri was an extraordinary day here in Allahabad. Only a few pilgrims decided to come here the previous day to camp overnight. Almost 95 percent arrived on the day itself and left by evening. Not many came from other states making this the most local event of the whole 44 day Kumbh Mela. There were very few traffic restrictions because there was a lot of parking space now available on the Kumbh grounds. Estimates of attendance ranged from 1.5 to 2.5 million. I believe between 800,000 to 900,000 had their Maha Shivratri snan in and around the Sangam today.  Read more...
Feb. 19, 2001 Government of Uttar Pradesh Congratulates Itself 
- by Tony Fernandes
While I have been away visiting the neighbouring state of Bihar, Allahabad has been slowly getting back to normal. The streets are no longer congested and the mela grounds have been transformed into what looks like an empty wasteland. A few camps are still around in sector seven including that of ISKCON. The infrastructure which was put in place over the past few months is continuing to be dismantled.  Read more...
Feb. 9, 2001 Magh Purnima Photos - by Tony Fernandes
Maghi Purnima comes at the end of the auspicious month of Magh. It brings to an end the cycle of this Kumbh Mela and, with its conclusion, thousands of pilgrims called Kalpvasis, who have spent weeks here will now be packing up and going home. This last auspicious bathing day of the Kumbh began at 3.07pm on 7th February and concluded at 1.09pm on Thursday 8th February.  Read more...
Feb. 3, 2001 Photos taken February 3, 2001. by Tony Fernandes

There is still a lot going on at the mela but this is a quieter time. People are bathing, vendors are selling, and spiritual talks are still attracting crowds. People will start pouring in beginning on the 6th in preparation for Magh Purnima, the next bathing day on February 8th.


Jan 29, 2001 Basant Panchami Photos - by Tony Fernandes

Basant Panchami. This is the last of the shahi snan days. I believe about 4 million to 4.5 million people had their snan on 29th January. Most of the Akharas will be packing up to leave within the next few days. 
The remaining days on 8th Feb and Shivaratri are too far away for most media to stay so it appears that Zenzibar will be the only site covering the mela till the official end on 21st February. 

Jan 26, 2001 Mauni Amavasya Photos - by Tony Fernandes





I believe there were in the region of 20 million people, plus or minus a couple of million, on Mauni Amavasya. This is based on my experience of seeing the numbers and the flow on this day and comparing it with the other bathing days on 9th and 14th January. Mauni Amavasya confirmed what I had seen on the big day 12 years ago at the 1989 Kumbh here in Allahabad. The flow of pilgrims continued at an almost uniform rate from 23rd January and went on until around 3pm on 24th January. The numbers flowing in and out were considerable - in the hundreds of thousands every hour. It was truly awesome. There was a kind of dreamlike quality to it all. I believe there were no more than 10 to 12 million people at any given time here on the Kumbh grounds. The remaining 10 million or so pilgrims floated in and out like a quiet swarm in the space of a day. More on this in a report later.

 More News and Articles from the Kumbha Mela

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