Improbable Water Stories

A documentary journey to the kumbh mela

In 2012 I decided to travel to India for the 2013 Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. I had been in India three years prior while the festival was taking place in Haridwar (every three years the location rotates to one of four cities: Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik, and Ujjain) but I had been unprepared and frankly afraid to go. It was my first time in India, and not going was the right decision, but since then I decided I wanted to go back and personally experience one of the largest religious gatherings in the world. The festival runs for over a month, with 120 million people traveling to the area to take a holy bath, culminating on the most auspicious bathing date on which over 30 million people gathered at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna, and mythical Saraswati rivers.

But before I can get here my brother calls to tell me he has decided to marry an Indian women he has been in a long-distance relationship with for the past few years, and who my family has yet to meet in person. Now we are all travelling to Pune for the wedding, and getting myself to Allahabad suddenly becomes more complicated. Family, marriage, cultural adoption and ritual mark the journey to a gathering where you never know who you might meet, how exactly you are going to get there, or what might happen when 30 million people come together.

Watch the full film at vimeo.com/ashleyviolet

Muskoka Independent Film Festival Official Selection 2014

Canadian International Film Festival Royal Reed Award Winner 2015