Kumbh Mela is one of the largest spiritual gatherings of people on Planet Earth. It is celebrated four times over the course of 12 years, the site of the observance rotating between four pilgrimage places on four sacred rivers — at Haridwar on the Ganges River, at Ujjain on the Shipra, at Nashik on the Godavari, and at Prayagraj on the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the mythical Sarasvati. Each site’s celebration is based on a distinct set of astrological positions of the Sun, the Moon, and Jupiter, the holiest time occurring at the exact moment when these positions are fully occupied.
Attendees at the Kumbh Mela come from all walks of life, ranging from sadhus (holy men), who remain naked year-round or practice the most severe physical discipline, to hermits, who leave their isolation only for these pilgrimages, and even to silk-clad teachers using the latest technology. Vast crowds of disciples, friends, and spectators join the individual ascetics and organisations.
According to an ancient legend in Bharat, it all began with a massive battle ‘Samudra Manthan’, the Churning of the Ocean, between Devas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons). From which emerged the Amrit Kumbh, the pot of nectar.
As the Manthan happened in the sky, the drops of Amrita (nectar) fell down from the Kumbh, across four holy rivers. And from there on, these four spots were established to be the holy quadrangle. Millions of pilgrims gather here from across the world, with a belief that taking a dip in the river Shipra on this occasion, will purify their soul and overcome all their sins.
Kumbh Mela is a grand event and to shoot such a grand event was the biggest challenge. There are hundreds of events happening at any particular moment, in a massive area. Millions of people were enhancing their life experience by becoming a part of the largest peaceful gathering on Mother Earth.
The top spiritual leaders from all over the world had gathered to help their followers understand the importance of Kumbh Mela and enrich their lives with their wisdom and knowledge.
Kumbh Mela VR is an experience on the Kumbh Mela. In 2016, Kumbh Mela happened in Ujjain, M.P., India. Ujjain’s Kumbh Mela is known as Simhasth, the name derives from the fact that it is held when Jupiter is in Leo.
Elysian Studios planned the production of 5 days initially and went to Ujjain to shoot the massive event. But 5 days went so fast and we realized that there is so much happening which we would love to capture.
So, we planned another trip back to Ujjain and shoot it for roughly 2 weeks more. The production became easier as it is the hometown of our Founder – Arvind Ghorwal. His family helped a lot in providing the necessary support for the team and we got some of the most fantastic VR shots of Kumbh Mela. Elysian Studios expected that Kumbh Mela was never shot in VR before. So, Elysian Studios has shot Kumbh Mela in VR for the 1st time in the history of mankind.
It took Elysian Studios roughly 3 months to do the post production and create a narrative of Kumbh Mela for an international audience. And finally the studio was able to come up with the final version.
The VR experience got shortlisted at 2 International Film Festivals – VR Days 2017 – Amsterdam and Docs against Gravity 2018 – Poland.
Elysian Studios’ experience on Kumbh Mela inspired many foreigners and Indians to attend the Ardh Kumbh Mela held at Triveni Sangam at Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India from 15 January to 4 March 2019 with the participation of whooping 120 million people.
STUDIO: Elysian Studios