Held every 12 years in 4 sacred cities in India – Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjian and Nasik- the Kumbh Mela is a riot of colors, rituals and traditions that millions of Indians are a part of. We see hordes of people walking, driving or even flying down to take a dip in the holy water that claims to wash off all yours sins. Many visit the Kumbh to witness the strength of faith and immerse themselves in religious rituals, listen to sermons of the sadhus who treat this as the only social event of their existence, and observe humanity the likes of which have never been seen before.

kumbh 2016 day ramghat

I stood at a point over RamGhat and for a moment resonated the same thoughts- below me were lakhs and lakhs of people taking the sacred holy dip, washing away their sins. What amazed me was the fact that there still existed so many people who could leave all logic and reasoning aside and take this dip to be holy, and most importantly BELIEVE that they were redeemed of their sins.

Did this thought do anything to change my way of thinking? Unfortunately not.

kumbh ramghat day 2

Don’t get me wrong, I respect the fact that people brave the heat waves and travel so far to pay homage to what they believe in. The amount of faith is mind-blowing.

While everyone walked it to the ghat to take a holy dip, we focused on the bare necessities (or would you call them first world problems?)- a cover for our heads, some water, some glucose to survive the walk, comfortable shoes, and fresh air. As we struggled to find shade and celebrated those rare moments the sun disappeared behind the clouds, people around us walked along relentlessly, desperately in search for answers that only the holy dip or sermons of the sadhus would solve.

kumbh 2016 crowd

It’s interesting to see this faith and way of life, it’s almost as if you have time traveled to an era where looking towards God to solve all your problems was the only way of life. Nothing else can justify the fact that people can ignore heat waves, dust storms and stampedes and walk for kilometres on end in 46 degrees in the middle of May.

kumbh 2016 heat

The Kumbh Mela was a part of a bucket list, something I didn’t expect to happen this early and unexpectedly. And as all things that form a bucket list, it wasn’t a piece of cake.

At the end of 3 days I was glad I could strike this off my bucket list. And one thing that makes me really happy is to know that the faith in the traditional way of living and thinking is so intense that the possibilities of a selfie zone coming up looking pretty bleak.

Leaving you with a photo-diary of the weekend that was –

kumbh 2016 ghat
We stopped by at a ghat that was relatively empty compared to the RamGhat.
kumbh 2016 day 1
Me – so….do you think we should take a dip? Pallavi – um, yeah, it seems fine…..
kumbh 2016 dip
Ok let’s dip our feet in and check it out…..
kumbh 2016 dip 2
Oh dear lord NO! <Doesn’t Pallavi look absolutely pretty here?>
OOTT
kumbh 2016 banks
We saw peacocks flying over the water to reach the other side of the bank. Yes, peacocks fly. We also met this tiny squirrel who thought it was a pup and tried running into our laps. Too bad we couldn’t click him.
And then we decided to enter the Kumbh.

Snapchat-3930044603646388794

kumbh 2016 sadhus 3
And then we found them….
kumbh 2016 sadhus 4
And were too stunned to respond…..

kumbh 2016 sadhus 5

kumbh 2016 sadhus 6

kumbh 2016 sadhus 1

kumbh 2016 ramghat

kumbh 2016 dips

kumbh 2016 night ramghat

kumbh 2016 bridge ramghat

kumbh 2016 ramghat night

And then we decided to check out the Kumbh Mela once again on a hot afternoon in the middle of summer in May –
kumbh 2016 protima
Never have I ever felt the need to cover myself in the hot sun. THIS was different. I am never challenging summers again.

kumbh 2016 local

kumbh 2016 sadhus

kumbh 2016 snapchat

sadhu 8
Hipster baba.
use
Well, we couldn’t take the heat. So we decided to get a rickshaw and head back. Turns out rickshaws don’t come to the ghat. So we walked down a few kilometers on a dusty road with no shade whatsoever in 46 degrees in the middle of summer in May :)
tempo travel kumbh 2016 use
And then hitched a ride on an open tempo because I also had a bus to catch.
kumbh 2016 transport
What is life without any drama and exaggeration no?

 

Picture Credits – @amreekan on Instagram

 

Author

High on love, life and sugar, I consider myself a typical Taurean, and am currently on my journey to achieve culinary nirvana. Hailing from an Army background, I've lived all over the country, but consider Pune to be my hometown. An MBA in Marketing, I find the power of expressing with words liberating. Hence the blog. Enjoy!

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