from India Insight:

Fashion Week: A splash of Kumbh on the runway

While millions washed away a lifetime of sins in the Ganges, some people brought back interesting things from the largest religious congregation on earth - the Maha Kumbh Mela. Designer Tarun Tahiliani brought back ideas for his latest collection.

More than 2,000 years old, the festival is a meeting point for Hindu sadhus, some of whom live in the forest or in Himalayan caves. The sadhus at the Kumbh can be quite a spectacle - some are ash-smeared, some naked, sporting dreadlocks and beads, while some wrap themselves in saffron clothing.

On the second day of the Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week, Tahiliani showcased his "Coombhack Collection", an interpretation of sadhu wear. Tahiliani gave the traditional drapes a modern and structured outlook in contemporary clothing.

“We went and we photographed thousands of people... and it is spectacular,” Tahiliani said. “The colours, the draping, just the way everyone drapes fabric in the most simplest way.”

The collection featured dresses with interesting drapes and folds, cashmere wraps worn over lehengas, saris wrapped in unique styles, palazzo pants with dupatta-like wraps, kalidar kurtas, draped jersey skirts and jackets. There were dhotis for men worn with jackets, kurtas and dupattas. The collection was in black, saffron, marigold, aubergine, orange, red and pink.

from India Insight:

Photo gallery: Allahabad Maha Kumbh Mela 2013

(Any opinions expressed here are those of the author, and not necessarily of Thomson Reuters)

Even if faith didn't bring you all the way to Allahabad's Kumbh Mela to wash away your sins, a visit to the largest religious congregation on earth can be overwhelming and surprisingly rejuvenating.

But faith does move millions...

Devotees walk for miles to reach the mela complex from the Allahabad railway station, believing that a dip at the sangam (confluence of holy rivers) would drown a lifetime of sins.

Half a million Hindus bathe in India’s Ganges; first day crush kills 7


Devotees take dip in waters of river Ganges during "Kumbh Mela" in Haridwar, 14 Jan 2010/Adnan Abidi

Hundreds of thousands of Hindus bathed in waters considered sacred across large parts of India to mark the start of a religious festival on Thursday, with at least seven people killed in a stampede in the country’s east.

At least half a million men, women and children braved chilly winds to bathe in the icy waters of the Ganges in the holy Himalayan town of Haridwar at the “Kumbh Mela,” or Pitcher Festival, held every 12 years in different Indian cities. Hindus believe that bathing in the Ganges during the almost four-month-long festival cleanses them of their sins, speeding the way to the attainment of nirvana.