Babas smoke a blend of charras and tobacco around the fire at Udasin Panchayati Bara Akhara during Maha Kumbh Mela, Allahabad, India, February 13, 2013. Use of marijuana (whose resin is known as charras) is a form of a eucharist in line with worship of the deity Shiva who is believed to have had an affinity for the leaves of the plant. Akharas are different sects of Hinduism, and during the Kumbh all sects are well represented and offer their own camps for devotees.
At the confluence of Indiaâs three holy rivers--the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati--the Maha Kumbh Mela comes to life. Drawing approximately 100 million pilgrims to Allahabad over the course of 55 days, this great Hindu fair is the largest human gathering on the planet. For the main bathing days, 20 to 30 million people come to the Sangam, the holy bathing area where the rivers join, for a dip in the sacred waters.