Wednesday, April 13, 2016

K for Kumbh Mela

Welcome to the "Believe it or Not- That's Incredible India!" series. India is home to some of the most astonishing wonders in the world. The rich culture, heritage, food, scriptures, architectural marvels and scores of known and unknown facts come together to create this multicolored melange that is India. Throughout this month, read about the various believe it or not facts about India and know what goes into the making of this incredible country!


If there’s one congregation that stands out for being the most heavily attended, it would have to be the Kumbh Mela. The sheer number of people who visit ‘the Kumbh’ is mindboggling. We aren’t talking of a few thousand people, not even a few lakhs. Hold your breath, because we are talking of a  80-100 million people! That is the number of people who throng to this holy place every year in search of moksha, making it ‘Maha’ in every sense of the word! What’s amazing about the Kumbh is that it is so large that the congregation is even visible from space!

According to a legend, when the gods and demons churned the ocean in what is famously described as the ‘Samudra Manthan’, a pot of ‘nectar of immortality’ arose from it. To prevent the demons from partaking it, the divine eagle–Garuda, flew away with the pot. Apparently, a few drops of the nectar fell into four rivers bestowing them with sacredness.

The Kumbh is therefore held once every 12 years at the banks of these four holy rivers— The Ganges in Haridwar, the Shipra in Ujjain, the Godavari river in Nasik and Sangam (the confluence of Saraswati and Yamuna) in Allahabad. Taking a holy dip in these nectar-fortified rivers is said to cleanse people of their sins and liberate their souls from the cycle of re-birth.

Along with the veritable crowd of humanity, you will also rub  shoulders with meditating sadhus, yogis balancing themselves precariously on one foot, astrologers and soothsayers beckoning you to have your future read, and ‘aghoris’ covered in nothing but ash. You  will also see small tents selling a gazillion things from trinkets and medicinal herbs to conches and semi-precious stones.

All these sights coupled with the visuals of the glorious sun rising and setting  against  the backdrop of the vast river of people, make the Maha Kumbh ethereal and enchanting!

In the words of the great author, Mark Twain who once visited the Kumbh in 1895, “It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of old and the weak, the young and the frail, enter without hesitation and complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining.”

The Maha Kumbh is truly an experience beyond your wildest imagination!

Believe it or not - That's Incredible India!


  1. I am enjoying your series of posts on India as apart of your challenge. Very well written and even I learnt a couple of new things.

    Great going!! Looking forward to more interesting nuggets and tidbits about this great country of ours!!!

  2. Fascinating. Great description, I can see it :-) Good luck with the rest of the AtoZchallenge.

  3. You know Shubhangi, another interesting aspect of the MahaKumbh is the massive official organizing for all kinds of arrangements from free-stay, food, travel, traffic management, crowd management and security. It is supposed to be so good that bureaucrats from the Haj pilgrim center and others worldwide come to observe and learn!
    Thanks for doing this wonderful post!
    @KalaRavi16 from

  4. Yet another reason for me to visit India. This event sounds awesome. I'd love to see it, experience it for myself.

  5. Lovely one as usual

  6. Maha in the largest sense of the word :D Fills me with pride. Shubhangi each of your posts has puffed up my chest with pride figuratively ;) Was glad to read Kala's comment about the organising committees work. They demands kudos :)My paternal grand mother, a Sikhni would go to the Kumbh melas and would tell us the tales of her experiences including the Halwa puri meal she would eat, making me drool :)

  7. This is something I have always wanted to go to, just to witness the magnitude of Kumbh Mela, but I don't know anyone who has actually experienced this.

    A Whimsical Medley
    Twinkle Eyed Traveller

  8. Kumbh Mela only always reminds me of twins getting separated in childhood! :P
    - Chicky @

    1. I rolling over with laughter still! mele mei bichade hue bhai!

  9. I have forever been in awe with the Kumbh Mela, though I have never attended one.
    So glad to see it feature for letter 'K'
    Thank you for sharing that enlightening quote :)

    @theerailivedin from The Era I Lived In

  10. 8-100 million! Imagine! The Discovery Channel too had it covered in one of their shows. It truly is marvelous to see the belief of so many people coming together for this event and making it a massive one!


  11. How did you manage to research so much? I'm in awe! And I had no idea about the Mark Twain visit. Thank you :)

  12. Incredible India ,Indeed !
    Beautifully Written :)

  13. Incredible indeed. My Mum's sister stays in Allahabad - where the Sangam is and I have heard tales of how the city suddenly grows during those days. Also, now the city is quarantined and the event is so well managed. Faith has so much power. Very well written Titli. Loved the narration.

  14. Titli, another amazing post on Incredible India and the great spiritual confluence:)


At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person..deep gratitude for those who have lighted the flame within me!! your comments will be appreciated..

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...