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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Photography Banned at India's 2010 Kumbh Mela

Photography Banned at India's 2010 Kumbh Mela
Paramilitary presence at Hindu religious gathering bar photos at Hardiwar Har-Ki-Pairi; cites terrorism, nudity.
Fragrant Diya
The three month-long bathing festival along the holy Ganges river in northern Uttarakhand state occurs once every 12 years and is expected to see 50 million Hindu devotees performing 'puja' (prayers) and washing away their sins in the sub-zero waters, however camera-toting international tourists will be disappointed when they are turned away at the entrance, warned American travel photographer Tom Carter.

"Only photojournalists with official Mela-stamped press passes are being allowed in the Harkipairi bathing ghats to take photos; casual photographers have to keep their cameras at their hotel or risk a tongue lashing or, worse, confiscation of your gear," said Carter following his attendance of the Purna Kumbha Mela Makar Sankranti and Mauni Amavasya and Surya Grahan Solar Eclipse first and second snan (baths) on January 14-15, 2010. "I spent not a little time and money getting to Hardiwar, and I know other westerners will too, so I think it is only fair to give my fellow photogs advance notice."

"After being thrown out of Har-Ki-Pairi one too many times for taking pictures, I diligently sought, and was granted, an audience with the Inspector General himself in charge of Mela security to try to obtain something called a 'pedestrian photo permit.' But as courteous as he was to actually hear my appeal, I was still denied the permit because I lack a J-Visa."

The inspector told Carter that terrorism threats as well as the 'lakhs' of nude bathers were the main reasons to restrict photography at the bathing ghats. Carter claims, however, that he saw Indian tourists left alone to snap photos, suggesting a double standard against westerners on the part of Mela enforcers.

Nonetheless, despite over 100 closed-circuit cameras, numerous companies of armed constables and 20,000 police personnel on high alert, Carter says he and other nimble photographers lacking accreditation were still able to appropriate the occasional shot. Some of Carter’s Mela images have recently been uploaded onto his Flickr account here: INDIA TRAVEL PHOTOS

"I was planning on attending the Maha Shivratri Pratham Shahi Snan first royal bath on February 12 and the main royal bath on April 14 to photograph the infamous Naga Sadhu processions, however I was informed that tourists won’t even be allowed in the proximity of HarKiPairi on those dates. Westerners be warned"

Carter says he will continue to appeal to Mela administrators to get his hands on a press pass so that he can document the triennial ritualistic bathing of what is considered the largest religious gathering of Hindus in the world. Alternatively, he suggests the natural setting and more laid-back atmosphere of the Magh Mela at Sangam in Allahabad.

Travel photographer Tom Carter will be backpacking to every state in India over the next several years to complete his next book of photography INDIA: Portrait of a People. Carter’s first book, the critically praised CHINA: Portrait of a People, will be sold on Amazon.Com beginning this June. Help support Tom Carter's travels by ordering your advanced copy today.
Purchase CHINA: Portrait of a People at Blacksmith Books
Purchase China Portrait of a People on Amazon. Read the China Portrait of a book review.
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42 comments:

  1. It's not a double standard, it's an assumption that Indians would not photograph nudity, would naturally respect the local sentiments and sensibilities. As well, they aren't "Indian tourists", they're pilgrims, which by itself accounts for them being different from, and being treated differently than, foreign tourists and journalists, who come to gape, not participate.

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  2. hello~welcome my world~<. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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  3. 快樂是你與生俱來的權力,它不應該取決於你完成什麼。 ..............................

    ReplyDelete
  4. 樂觀進取,勇往直前,持之以恒,是克服困難的妙方。......................................................

    ReplyDelete
  5. 愛情是一種發明,需要不斷改良。只是,這種發明和其他發明不一樣,它沒有專利權,隨時會被人搶走。..................................................

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  6. 能猜得出女人真實年齡的男人也許耳聰目明,但肯定毫無大腦。哈哈!..................................................................

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  7. 在莫非定律中有項笨蛋定律:「一個組織中的笨蛋,恆大於等於三分之二。」......................................................................

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  8. 生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。......................................................................

    ReplyDelete
  9. 向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

    ReplyDelete
  10. 當一個人內心能容納兩樣相互衝突的東西,這個人便開始變得有價值了。............................................................

    ReplyDelete
  11. 向著星球長驅直進的人,反比踟躕在峽路上的人,更容易達到目的。............................................................

    ReplyDelete
  12. 快樂與滿足的秘訣,就在全心全意投注於現在的每一分,每一秒上..................................................

    ReplyDelete
  13. 世間事沒有一樣沒有困難,只要有信心去做,至少可以做出一些成績。..................................................

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  14. 生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。............................................................

    ReplyDelete
  15. Very nice photos and its true photography is not allowed in kumbh Mela.
    Thank you,
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    ReplyDelete

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Photojournalist Tom Carter traveled for 2 years and 35,000 miles across the 33 provinces of China to show the diversity of Chinese People in CHINA: Portrait of a People, the most comprehensive book of photography on modern China ever published by a single author. Available now on Amazon.

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