It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvelous to our kind of people, the cold whites. This is what Mark Twain had to say after his visit to the Kumbh Mela in the year 1985. And since then the place has been a huge magnet to bring in more and more tourists every year. (more…)
This religious gathering has been taking place in India since times unknown but the first written proof of it can be seen in the works of the Chinese traveller Hsuan Tsang who happened to visit India, during the reign of King Harshvardhana. This spectacle of faith, which often piques the curiosity of foreigners, had its origin very long back, the mention of which can be seen in a number of Hindu scriptures. The Vishnu Purana, Srimad Bhagvatam, Ramayana and Mahabharata all have a mention of an incident known as the Samudra Manthan the meaning of which is the churning of the ocean’s milk. (more…)
The kumbha mela played a very important role in Bollywood movies, back in the 1970s and 1980s. Most films had a storyline revolving around two brothers who are separated at this magnanimous fair, as children, because of the jam packed arena. And like all Bollywood comedies, the movie ends with a happy ending where the brothers identify each other and reconcile. That was the Bollywood version of the Kumbha Mela, the biggest gathering of the Hindus and spirituality seekers from all parts of the globe. It is one of the largest peaceful gatherings in the world.