Golden Baba shines at Ardh Kumbh Mela in Haridwar

The Kumbh Mela festival, held every twelve years at one of four sacred cities around India, is the largest gathering of human beings on earth, but fewer people have heard of the Ardh Kumbh Mela, a smaller celebration held in two of the same locations - Haridwar and Allahabad  - on a different cycle, based on the movements of Jupiter and the Sun in the Hindu zodiac.

The banks of the Ganges in Haridwar.

The banks of the Ganges in Haridwar. Image by Abigail Becker / CC BY 2.0

While not quite on the scale of the Kumbh Mela, this year’s Ardh Kumbh Mela in Haridwar is set to attract more than one million Hindu devotees, including the so-called Golden Baba, who was carrying an estimated 15.5 kilos of golden votive objects when he immersed himself in the sacred waters of the Ganges on Friday. The Ardh Kumbh Mela celebrations began on 12 January and will continue until April. Read more: 

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