LIFE: Rare photos from India's Kumbh Mela

Hindu festival

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Sixty years ago, in 1953, LIFE photographer James Burke chronicled the colossal Hindu festival, Kumbh Mela, in pictures that, for reasons lost to time, were never published in the magazine. Here, in the midst of the 2013 festival, posts a series of those images -- photos that capture something of the raw intensity and almost overwhelmingly sacral nature of the celebration's rites.