[skip to content]

Khumba Mela

A study of India's largest pilgrimage in photographs by Dixie
7 January - 11 January, 31 January - 22 March, 17 April - 21 June 2002

"For 23 days I stayed inside the Kumbha Mela. If all those days had been like the photos I've seen before then I would have gone mad. I may well have been in the most crowded place on earth, but I found peace within it"

Dixie

The Kumbha Mela - the pilgrimage which marks the places where the gods spilled the nectar of immortality - dazzles with statistics: 100 million attended in 2001, and up to 30 million people can be there at any one time. But Dixie's pictures capture a quite startling and very different side to what Channel 4 called "The Greatest Show on Earth".

Dixie was invited to the 1998 Kumbha Mela in Haridwar by Guru Laxman Das with whom he had been living with in a cave Ashram in the Himalayas on his first visit to India.

"In 1998 the streets of Haridwar were alive with orange and red fabrics, powders and paints. Smells of sweet flowers and milky, spicy tea hung in the air. Surrounded by the sounds that only a crowd of millions can make, a sea of pilgrims moved in a trance like state towards the Ganga". Dixie

The exhibition contains a personal selection of pictures taken by Dixie during his time with the Sadhus and of the quieter side to the largest gathering of humanity on earth.

Dixie's limpid pictures of the river at dawn, and his vivid portraits of pilgrims depict the peace among the crowds and the devotion at the Mela's core always with a great sympathy to his subject being reflected in his work.

At only 25, this is Dixie's first major exhibition, following a very successful show at the Metro Gallery in Soho. The exhibition has been made possible by the generous sponsorship of The Bagri Foundation, and support of Treacle Media and Joes Basement.