Kumbh Mela 2013
Earlier this month, I was on an overwhelming trip to the Himalayas. But before going up the massive hills, I halted at two lovely towns in its foothills – Haridwar and Rishikesh. Not being that religious person myself, my visit to these towns brought me across the tremendous faith of people – the followers of 'Hinduism' primarily. Yes, these towns are famous religious sites, dotted with many temples, ashrams etc and the Holy Ganges flow through both. I was fortunate to get glimpses of people taking holy dips in the ghats of both the towns, that I had often only heard about till now, read in books or seen in the movies etc.

Kumbh Mela 2013
Beautiful Ghats of Haridwar ( left ) & Rishikesh ( right ) captured on my recent travel, with the holy Ganges flowing through.

While I was awed, I was told that this was nothing. That further down, where the Ganges flowed is a city called Allahabad, and its where the massive action really is ~ in the name of the Kumbh Mela. What holy dips I saw here is nothing compared to the millions who come from all over the world at the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and mythical river of Saraswati and the dip taken in the waters here is considered most purest, having numerous astrological significances too. Obviously, these snans of Kumbh Mela at the Sangam, are the centre of the entire festival. However, these does not happen daily - the 'mela' that is ( although, bathing at the ghats maybe a common occurrence ). Infact, there are 4 cities across India, where the Kumbh Mela is held alternately every 3 years, which means one place witnesses it after a gap of 12 years only. However, this is not all, there is the Maha Kumbh that comes every 144 years too, and the one happened in 2013 was one such. Now, I think I understand the old adage of 'Kumbh mei Bichra huwa bhai'...considering the long gaps in between the events and the different locations it takes place :-) Which in turn, makes it what it is ~ truly incredible.

I've always wondered rather bewildered that since there are perhaps thousands of rivers flowing all over the world, only in India they are considered so holy, worshiped and taken dips in them, thought to be auspicious. I never knew why exactly ~ the significance, benefits or the essence of it all. And my questions remained unanswered. While I still don’t have much idea about it, wouldn't it be great to learn from those who have some authentic information on it? Thus, I’m curious about the special volumes of books releasing soon, that has all information possible on the Kumbh Mela, covering all aspects of it ( historical, mythological, spiritual, philosophical, astrological, logistical and many more ). And not just that, there is an entire documentary that has been shot and prepared on the Kumbh Mela of 2013 by Anugraha. For a person too awestruck by this festival, it won’t be wrong to admit here that I’d love to witness the 'premiere' of the movie that is releasing on 25th July. Yes, this month! My interest in the Kumbh is not necessarily religious in nature. I’m more interested as a voyeur, to witness the spectacle for myself and learn what it takes to arrange a festival of such mammoth proportions; of course, the to-do things while there as well. And as a person who loves every aspect of travel, these type of special occasions only further fuels an urgency to travel and experience it for myself. Well, since I wont be alive after 144 years to see the Maha Kumbh again, why not be lucky enough to watch the recorded 'documentary' version of it. Are you joining me for the premier?
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( Images - BA & ©Mine. All Rights Reserved ) The Kumbh which took place in 2013 comes only once in 144 years.
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