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Mapping the Kumbh

This map was part of an eight-book series about the Kumbh Mela – a faith gathering that takes place at the banks of the principal rivers in India. Each book presented a different view of the Mela – from its history and mythology, to the religious practices of the attendees, the logistics of managing such a large event as well as the commercial aspects of this spiritual gathering. The content was divided into form of poetry, interviews, reflective essays and images.


The content of the books was in the form of poetry, reflective essays, diary notes, photo stories, etc – all captured and recorded in the moment by the authors of the book. The map was tasked with giving the reader an overview of all these texts across all eight books simultaneously – allowing him to immerse in the same experiences as the authors.

To that end, the metaphor of the ‘cities’ and ‘states’ map was used as the overarching theme for our kumbh map. Each book was a ‘state’ (depicted by a mass of colour) and each type of text was a ‘city’ (depicted by a system of icons). The ‘state’ map and the ‘city’ map were printed on different sheets of translucent paper. Once overlaid, they provided the viewer with an overall experience of what the books would be.

The 'states map', each colour mass standing for the eight books.

The ''cities map', indicating the chapters of each book

The two maps, overlaid

System of symbols developed for each chapter type

Colour palette devised for all eight books

The relevant part of the map was reproduced inside each book, as a visual contents page

This project is made in collaboration with the wonderful team at anugraha

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