Nightfall is descending on the 620 million Indians without government-supplied electricity in the biggest blackout in history. Already, the collapse of three regional grids has stalled hundreds of trains, caused massive traffic jams and even stopped crematoriums half-way through burning dead bodies. While Indians are no strangers to blackouts (backup generators and candles are in widespread use), a blackout of this scale has never been seen. Below are scenes of Indians coping with the darkness:

Blackouts can be dangerous. Above, a customer is deputized with holding a candle as he gets his haircut in Kolkata [AP]

 

Lights out: Tonight the moon hovers above Kolkata. [AP]

 

This line of commuters has only the vendor kiosks to light the street as they wait for the bus. [AP]

 

In a madrasa in the outskirts of New Delhi, Muslim girls study under candle light [Reuters] 

 

A gas oven mechanic waits for customers to stop in during Kolkata's power out. [Reuters]

 

Just because the power's out, doesn't mean school is. In Kolkata, a teacher conducts her lesson by the light of kerosene lamps. [Reuters]

 

Lighting his way up the stairs, an Indian man in Kolkatta lets he candle light lead his way.

 

A dark street in Calcutta [Reuters]