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Why Have Tigers Been Feared and Revered Throughout History?

Talking Tigers: Part 5 of a 12-part series Throughout human history, the diverse peoples who populated the vast Asian continent have had one thing in common: They feared and revered the tiger. Throughout this cat’s range, their stealthy, illusory habits—suddenly appearing and disappearing in dense forests, often at night—elevated them to the status of otherworldly beings.…

Geography in the News: A New International Canal?

Guest Authors: Malavika Nidhi and Rahul Nagvekar, students of Mrs. Rita McMahon, Dulles High School, Sugar Land, Texas.* This invited Geography in the News article initially was posted on Maps.com’s website and was made part of its 900-article GITN archive. Permission to post here is granted by Maps.com and Neal G. Lineback and Mandy Lineback…

Kumbh Mela 2013: Where Have All The Cobras Gone?

There are elephants at the Kumbh Mela, but no snake charmers, and yet both used to be staples of festivals and fairs in India. So where are the snake charmers? Sulking in Kapari and Lohagra, two villages about an hour’s drive from Allahabad, is the answer. If they try to come close to the Kumbh…

Kumbh Mela 2013: Picking Flowers

Allahabad is a city of 1.2 million people, and despite the proximity of its bigger, noisier neighbour, the Kumbh Mela, life goes on there—including death. The funeral ghats on the Ganges were moved away from the sangam—the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers—for the duration of the festival, but they are still within the…

Kumbh Mela 2013: Holy Men

Naga Baba Jai Giri Ji has long, long hair. He hasn’t cut it for 15 years, and when he dances in the processions that the holy men lead to the sangam on bathing days, he loops it over his arms so that it doesn’t trip him up. Lakshman Giri is also famous for his headgear,…

Kumbh Mela 2013: Bathing in the Ganges

If you climb up to high ground above the river plain, you begin to get a sense of the scale of the Kumbh Mela, especially at night. It stretches off in all directions. The sky above it is as light as the sky over a large metropolis, only there are no highrises here—nothing much higher than a lamp-post, in fact. The noise from hundreds of loudspeakers is incessant and very loud—like a human rainforest, technically enhanced.

Kumbh Mela 2013: World’s Largest ‘City’ Rises Alongside Ganges

The stars are aligned. The first aiders are on standby. The latrines are dug. And the city of Allahabad is waiting to see how many tens of millions of people will descend on it between now and March 10. One thing is certain: the Kumbh Mela, a giant gathering of Hindu pilgrims that takes place every 12 years in four cities in northern India, and that is celebrated this year in Allahabad, is unique.

A Swami’s Hunger Strike Ends Mining on a Stretch of the Ganges River

An 11-day hunger strike by the swami of a small ashram ended on Monday night when the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand banned stone and sand mining from the Ganges riverbed near the city of Haridwar pending an environmental impact statement.