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CRITIC’S PICK – Village Voice

"A personal, yet profoundly universal, cinematic essay that interweaves five disparate tales into a meditative, entertaining and provocative tapestry." - Saibal Chatterjee, BBC

Filmmaker Pan Nalin (Valley of Flowers, Samsara) travels to the Kumbh Mela, the largest religious convergence in the world on the bank of the Ganges. There, he encounters remarkable men of mind and meditation, many contemplating an inextricable dilemma: to embrace the world or to renounce it? Faith Connections brings to life the personal stories behind a scrappy young runaway boy, a mother desperately looking for her stolen son, and a yogi who is raising an abandoned baby, along with a Sadhu and an ascetic who keeps his calm by smoking cannabis. These stories are framed against a background of a million pilgrims and their spectacular display of devotion.


Kumbh Mela is one of the most extraordinary displays of faith on Earth: a spectacular journey drawing tens of millions of people, taking place once every twelve years. One such year is 2013.

This Hindu pilgrimage is held for about one and a half months at the Triveni Sangama. In Hindu tradition Triveni Sangama is the “confluence” of three rivers. Sangama is the Sanskrit word for confluence. The point of confluence is a sacred place for Hindus. A bath here is said to wash away all of one’s sins and free one from the cycle of rebirth.

Kumbh means a pitcher and Mela means fair in Hindi. It is also believed in Hindu mythology — drops of nectar fell from the Kumbh carried by gods after the sea was churned. The festival is billed as the “biggest gathering on Earth.” An estimated four to five million pilgrims bathe on the most auspicious day. The total number of pilgrims for the entire duration of the fair is considered to be between 90 to 100 million.