Lumen Dei: Kumbh Mela, India
Gavin Gough and I are thrilled to announce that we will officially start taking applications for the 2010 Kumbh Mela Lumen Dei photo workshop and tour. Now, I could wax eloquently about the tour for hundreds of words. But, Gavin has such a nice English lilt I will let him tell you all about our tour and workshop. Gavin if you please?
“It’s difficult to measure the excitement with which Matt Brandon and I are announcing this photo tour. Off the scale probably.
The 2010 Kumbh Mela photo tour will begin on April 6th in Delhi. Matt and I will greet eight lucky photographers and begin by spending a short time finding our feet in Delhi before traveling to Varanasi, where we will photograph the activities along the banks of the sacred Ganges river. Varanasi is, without doubt, one of my favourite photographic locations and there will be much for us to enjoy. That alone would be sufficient to get my pulse racing but the highlight of this unique trip will be when we reach Haridwar and begin photographing the Kumbh Mela festival.
We’ve arranged the trip to coincide with the most auspicious bathing day, on April 14th, when the river Ganges will be the centre of attention for tens of thousands of eager devotees. Indeed, on the last such day, in 2001, five million Hindu pilgrims participated. It is difficult to imagine the numbers involved, imagine the entire population of both Paris and Rome converging on the banks of the Seine on the same day. It promises to be a memorable event and it will be a privilege to witness it. The next Kumbh Mela won’t take place until 2013 so you will appreciate that opportunities like this don’t come along very often.
Matt and I have been fortunate to have had the expert help of David Bohlen from Frontier Treks and Tours to assist us with planning this trip. Interest has been keen and the tour is now officially open to applications. The tour will probably be limited to just eight participants with Matt and I both available throughout the trip for photographic and cultural advice. Matt can also usually be persuaded to provide an interesting anecdote or two and I am willing to share my somewhat encyclopaedic knowledge of the growing, harvesting and consumption of the Camelia Sinensis plant to anyone suffering from insomnia.
Seriously, the trip will be fun but it will be hard work too. I don’t think it would be accurate to describe it as a holiday or vacation. “Expedition” might be a better term to accurately describe the experience that we’re planning. The photographic opportunities will be many and varied and the Kumbh Mela is obviously an event that few people will ever get the chance to witness. We will spend some time discussing how best to photograph the event and our time in Varanasi will very much be an opportunity to hone our skills before the main event.
Rather than witter on for ages about this unique trip, I’ll simply point you in the direction of the Frontier Treks and Tours website, where you can read the trip overview. I would draw your attention to the the notes on the itinerary page and the details given on the Dates/Cost page. Please read all of the information thoroughly and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions.
Finally, you can sign-up for the trip online. Please complete the application as fully as possible, noting that applications are only secured upon receipt of your deposit payment.
Matt and I are looking forward to welcoming the tour participants to India in April and to photographing with them (you?) at the Kumbh Mela.”