The Maha Kumbh Mela, the world's biggest religious festival, is meant to be spiritually uplifting. But for the thousands who get lost in the swell of humanity, the experience can be terrifying.
Sharphya Harijan sits sobbing in a plastic chair at a "lost and found" centre at the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad on January 14, 2013. "I was walking in the bathing area and had my daughter by the hand but due to the pressure of so many people I got separated and lost in the crowd," she told AFP.
The festival takes place on a sprawling site in northern India next to the river Ganges where as many as 20 million people are expected to cram in on the most auspicious day on February 10 for a bath said to cleanse them of their sins.