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Maha Kumbh Mela – 2010, Haridwar...

February 2010


India

Can words possibly describe all 3.2 million square kilometers of the Indian subcontinent?  Can pictures capture a terrain as diverse as verdant forests, golden deserts and the majestic Himalayan range? Can stories tell you all you want to know about the complex cultures of the Indian people, their languages and dialects, their rituals and traditions? To feel her magic, be touched by her spirituality, experience her intensity or join in her celebrations, you simply have to be in India.

 

The Kumbha Mela - January 14 to April 28, 2010

This year, Creative Travel is pleased to showcase a one of a kind event – the largest gathering of human beings in the world. The Kumbh Mela, or Kumbh Fair, is a mass Hindu pilgrimage, the largest religious gathering in the world.  According to astrologers, the Kumbh Fair takes place when the planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries

The Kumbh Mela, happening this year, takes place every 12 years and is in Haridwar. The dates are based on the stars and their alignment.

For the international visitor, the Kumbh Mela is truly an amazing experience. The opportunity to see a culture at its best is unique. This is not an event put on for tourists and is a truly authentic experience that will be most unforgettable.  Guests stay in luxury tents specially erected for the fair and get to visit the banks of the Ganges to see the pilgrims pay their homage to the gods.

The religious aspect and the legends of Kumbh Mela date back to the time when Kalasha (a pot of nectar said to bring immortality) was recovered from the churning of Primordial Ocean after a tense war between God and Demon.

According to Hindu mythology and history, Lord Brahma, God of creation, gave some advice to the gods to get rid of their weakness, caused during the creation of earth. Following the advice of Lord Brahma, the God began the task of churning the ocean in order to draw nectar (Amrit) from its water.  To accomplish this difficult task, God sought assistance from demons and made a deal that they could have of the nectar. The demons agreed to it.

However after God became successful in procuring the nectar from the ocean bed, he tried to run away with it to protect it from the demons, who were more powerful than God (Devtas). The safety of the Amrit was handed over to four gods, namely Brahaspati, Surya, Chandra and Shani, who ran away with nectar pot (Amrit Kalasha) to hide it from the demons.

After learning of this conspiracy, the demons became furious and chased the 4 Devtas running with Nectar pot. The chase lasted for 12 days and nights, during which the Devtas and Asuras went round the earth and during this chase, Devtas placed the Amrit Kalasha at Haridwar, Prayag, Ujjain and Nasik.

To commemorate this holy event of the Amrit Kalasha being put in four different places, Kumbh Mela is celebrated. Not only this, Astrologers also believe that the water of Holy Ganges attain nectar-like properties during the Kumbh Mela season.

Haridwar, or the doorway to God, is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is one of the seven holiest places according to Hindu mythology, and due to geographical reasons, the city is the starting point for the three important pilgrimage cities of Rishikesh, Badrinath and Kedarnath. Legend goes that the suryavnshi Prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors, who had perished due to the curse of the sage Kapila. The penance was answered with the river Ganges descending from the heavens to revive the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara. Haridwar is also one of the four sites of the Kumbh Mela, occurring once every 12 years and the Ardha Kumbha Mela occurring every 60 years.

This year, the Kumbh Mela even took on a socialy responsible mood when the Naga Sadhus campaigned against global warming in Kumbh Mela.

Naga sadhus, who smear their naked bodies with ash and sport long matted hair, are using the Maha Kumbh Mela here as a medium for their campaign against global warming. Their leadership made a public statement that warned of an environmental backlash if the world continues to exploit nature. 

Juna Akhara, one of the largest groups of Naga sadhus said, \"You really can\'t mess up with the nature and think you can get away with it. The nature is very powerful and can wipe out the human race if it wants to. Be it global warming, droughts or floods, this is the nature hitting back at us for messing with it.\"

 

For more information, please contact Rajeev Kohli at india@euromic.com

Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela