Cutty Sark Award for the Travel Photographer of the Year 2013: Timothy Allen, UK "La Fete de Créppisage -– the annual festival of the replastering of the central mosque in Djenné." Timothy Allen/www.tpoty.com

From the jubilant mud mosques of Mali to the thumping heart of India’s Kumbh Mela pilgrimage, the award-winning shots out of this year’s Travel Photographer of the Year competition are nothing if not breathtaking. They remind us of the wonders of our still-diverse planet, and offer armchair travelers a pinhole view of a seemingly inaccessible wilder world.

Thousands of hopefuls from nearly 100 countries entered the 2013 competition, which is open to amateurs and professionals. It was then the job of photographers Eamonn McCabe, Nick Meers and Chris Weston to whittle the pack down to a few dozen finalists.

With four of his portfolios shortlisted for various categories, Travel Photographer of the Year founder Chris Coe said he was impressed by the consistently high standards of Briton Timothy Allen, the ultimate grand prize winner. “His black and white imagery is particularly noteworthy, engaging and well paced. Creating a striking portfolio is an art, but he has captured different elements to great effect to tell the stories of the communities and people in his images,” Coe said.

“The portfolio of the replastering of the mud mosque in Djenne, Mali … has echoes of Salgado imagery, whilst the third portfolio enigmatically captures the lives of the Dogon. His other two portfolios, shot in Wales and Bhutan respectively, are more intimate studies of the lives of particular individuals. What is evident in all of these images is Timothy's ability to engage with and photograph people, and his ability to tell stories with his photography.”

Allen’s captivating portfolio will go on display in London next year alongside a dozen other category winners. But before the photos hit the walls of the Royal Geographical Society in July, Travel Photographer of the Year offered International Business Times a sneak peek at some of the winning shots.

Vanishing & Emerging Cultures Winner, Best Single Image in a Portfolio: Roberto Nistri, Italy "Kumbh Mela, one of the world’s biggest religious gatherings, Allahabad, India." Roberto Nistri/www.tpoty.com
Vanishing & Emerging Cultures, Winner: Gavin Gough, Thailand "Kolkata Skateboarding Club, Kolkata, West Bengal, India." Gavin Gough/www.tpoty.com
First Shot, En Route -- Winner: Stuart Draper, UK "Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil" Stuart Draper/www.tpoty.com
Monochromal Winner of Best Single in a Portfolio: Emmanuel Coupe, France "Gullfoss waterfall, Iceland" Emmanuel Coupe/www.tpoty.com
Monochromal -- Winner: Jino Lee, Singapore "Fisherman, Dong Jiang River, Hunan, China." Jino Lee/www.tpoty.com
New Talent -– Metropolis Winner: Tom Pepper, UK "New York City, USA" Tom Pepper/www.tpoty.com
Young Travel Photographer of the Year 2013: Jonathan Rystrøm, Denmark (age 14) "The Strada, Dubrovnik, Croatia" Jonathan Rystrøm/www.tpoty.com
Young TPOTY 14 and Under Winner: Patria Prasasya, Indonesia (age 10) "Ants -- Surabaya, Indonesia" Patria Prasasya/www.tpoty.com
Young TPOTY 15-18 Winner: Chase Guttman, USA (age 17) "Bubble gun battle, New York, USA" Chase Guttman/www.tpoty.com
Wild Stories Winner: Jasper Doest, Netherlands "Japanese Macaque, Jigokudani Yaen Kōen, Yamanouchi, Shimotakai District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan" Jasper Doest/www.tpoty.com
Wild Stories Winner, Best Single Image in a Portfolio: Peter Downing, UK "Kingfisher, Worcestershire, UK" Peter Downing/www.tpoty.com
One Shot, Extraordinary Winner: Justin Mott, USA "Twila True's home, Phuket, Thailand" Justin Mott/www.tpoty.com