Conversations at the Kumbh Mela

Allahabad, 2013

(A documentary to be released soon)

Millions of people congregate for two months in the fifty-eight square kilometre area on the bed of the Ganga at Allahabad to celebrate in the Kumbh Mela. In the chaos, many get lost and most are reunited with their families every day. Hundreds of religious and spiritual leaders pontificate to the gathered multitudes, as naga babas very often steal the show. This is the story of the Kumbh. But as Chimamanda Adichie says, the single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.

This film is an attempt to capture the essence of the experiential aspects of being in that space at that time on the banks of the Ganga. It hopes to put spirit back into ancient, mythological stories handed down for generations, and dismiss the idea of faith as being merely a collection of uninformed and blind rituals.

Above the din echoed by the matrix of loudspeakers, you hear stories and afar from the crowds, you grow closer to faith. When you are but one drop in the sea of people, you realise how little you are. it is only when you are lost in the biggest gathering of people on earth, do you discover the Kumbh anew. Such are the paradoxes offered by the Maha Kumbhmela as you float from one experience to the next, drift from one story to the next.

Documentary Credits:

Produced by

  • Anugraha
  • --

Directed and Edited by

  • Yashodara Udupa
  • --


  • Bindhumalini Narayanaswamy
  • --


  • Yashodara Udupa
  • Sudhanva R. Atri
  • --

Content , camera support and research (On field team):

  • Deshna Mehta
  • Deven Shah
  • Dilip Shiwalkar
  • Leena Mehta
  • Medha Shiwalkar
  • Pooja Agarwala
  • Shebani Shah
  • Sudhanva R. Atri
  • Vidhi Shah
  • Yashodara Udupa