Bangalore based blogger ecophilo shares his experiences of attending this year's vast gathering of pilgrims at the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad this year. Previous thread on the Kumbh Mela, what it is and why the Maha Kumbh only takes place every 144 years. Here's a snippet: It all began with Twitter. There were a few on my timeline who were tweeting about the Maha Kumbh Mela, 2013 and a thought took root in my mind. Can I make it to the Kumbh Mela this year? After all, it was tempting to be part of the worlds oldest and largest human gathering - and it seemed within reach too. And The Kumbh Mela was not a place that had ever figured in my list of 'things to experience'.
Kumbh Mela. Currently under way in Allahabad, India, the three-yearly Kumbh Mela festival is the largest gathering of people on the planet, as up to 70 million Hindus converge to wash away their sins where droplets of the nectar of immortality are said to have been spilt when the gods & demons struggled over it. Of perennial interest to foreigners are the hordes of sadhus (often naked, ascetic holy men) who attend, not always without incident. Recently, however, an Australian historian has cast doubt on the supposedly ancient nature of the mass gathering, suggesting that it was largely invented as a way of circumventing British control following the unsuccessful Indian Mutiny of 1857. [reg for final link: mefi / mefi]
Eat your heart out, Burning Man... Allahabad may become the world's largest city for the next six weeks. It's expected that at least 20 million people will attend the Kumbh, but numbers could rise to 70 million. Wow.