Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Kumbha Mela

I just experienced the Kumbha Mela in India!

The Kumbh Mela ("festival of the pot of nectar of immortality") is held every three years in each of four different locations, returning to each of four places every twelve years. It kind of confusing but here it goes...

An Ardh (half) Mela (festival) takes place six years after the Purna (full) Kumbh in each location.
 4 locations:
-Prayag (near the city of Allahabad, in the state of Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of three rivers Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and mythical Saraswati.
-Haridwar (in the state of Uttaranchal Pradesh) where the river Ganga enters the plains from Himalayas.
-Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), on the banks of Ksipra river.
-Nasik (in Maharashtra) on the banks of Godavari river.

Dates for the Kumbh Festival 
(every 12 years in 4 locations)
-In 2010, March-April, Kumbh Mela was held at Haridwar in the foothills of the Himalayas...just beautiful!
Filled with people of all colors, sizes, shapes and smells. They came from all over, Rajistan; decked out in their red turbons and saris, and the south...all tan from the glorious sun!

We were there on the main bathing date: April 14, 2010.

The basic point of the Kumbh Mela is for pilgrims to bathe in the Ganges River! GANGA MA!!! at certain sacred spots on certain auspicious days. A large tented city is erected and pilgrims stay at tents owned by Pandas (religious and spiritual guides) and at various ashrams and hotels. Others will just camp on the ground ... Some of these bathing days are designated "royal." On all the 10 major bathing dates, the naga sadhus (naked mendicants) will parade and bathe. We were along the ghat- steps that lead down to the water- and bathed with the beautiful families that performed Surya Namaskar - sun salutation- to the Holy Ganga

What a city Haridwar was!!

Haridwar is an ancient holy city of India, one of the seven holiest places to Hindus. The river Ganges enters the North Indian plains at Haridwar. The name of the city is "Dwar of Hari" or "Gateway to God." It is also known as Mayapuri, Kapila and Gangadwar. Hindu pilgrims and devotees gather at Haridwar to offer prayers on auspicious occasions. The water of River Ganga is considered so sacred at Haridwar that pilgrims carry the water back home- which I did and it is sitting on my alter right now .

The Kumbha Mela was the best moments of my life. I look forward to returning to India soon...and hope to be at the next Kumbh. Hari Hari Maha Dev!

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