We were in Kumbh Mela last week. To say that was an awesome experience is an understatement! We say it is a “once in a life time experience”.
Here are solid 9 reasons why you should pack your bags to Allahabad before curtains come down on Kumbh Mela 2019 in first week of March.
Please click on pictures to see them in larger size.
1 It happens once in Six years!
Yes. This is actually “Ardh Kumbh mela” as Maha Kumbh Mela happens every 12 years. So better hurry up. You may miss a chance next time and crowds will only increase. Earlier the better is the best advice we can give!
2 It is Huge
It is Mammoth! It has to be seen to be believed. The infrastructure is mindblowingly enormous. Check out these details.
- Tent City in Kumbh Mela – 4,200 premium tents for tourists and Public accommodation, with a capacity of 20,000 beds
- Sanitation – More than 1,22,000 toilets , More than 20,000 dustbins with liner bags, More than 15,000 sanitation workers 40 Compactors and 120 Tippers for disposal of waste , More than 2,000 Ganga Praharis/Swacchagrahis are being engaged as foot soldiers….the experience is excellent
- Traffic Planning – 300 kms roads in the Mela area , 1,795 Pontoons to be used for developing 22 Pontoon bridge, more than 84 parking areas for parking of more than 5 lakh vehicles , shuttle buses and thousands of CNG auto deployed
- Police Plan – 40 police stations , 3 female police stations , 62 police out posts, 40 Fire fighting centres 15 fire out posts 40 watch towers
- Adequate arrangements for ration , drinking water
But this should not deter you or scare you from going there. It is extremely well organised. It is very clean and the government has left no stones unturned to make this a safe event where people can enjoy the “Kumbh experience”
3 It is celebration of faith
Faith drives India. Kumbh is no exception. 50 Million people gathered on the holy day of Mouni Amavasya on 04 february to take a dip in the confluence! This is the largest congregation of human beings on the earth! You will never find so many of them moved by faith congregating in one place. Villagers, city dwellers, foreign nationals…….people from all walks of life come to Kumbh to get their Punya. Don’t miss it.
4 It is an experience of life time
Yes. We said that. The people, the infrastructure, the events, the experiences…….You have to be there to feel the fervour, the smell and colours of Kumbh. One can’t write about it!
5 Get a chance to meet Sadhus
We don’t meet them every other day. Sadhus come down to Kumbh Mela from different places. Whether it is naked Naga sadhus of Junaa Akhada or transgender Sadhus from Kinnara Akhada…..here is an opportunity to meet up with them and speak to them. There is nothing to fear and they welcome you if you want to spend time with them to get to know their mystical experiences. You can’t do it anywhere else!
6 To take a dip in the Holy confluence
The Hindu scriptures say that a dip in the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati will wash away all sins. For a believer, it is a great spiritual experience. Even if you are a non believer , a dip in the river among the faithful will refresh you. Do it once!
7 For a boat ride on the river
Imagine thousands of boats on the river and you are one among them! With thousands of Siberian seagulls as your company! A sunrise boat ride is a blissful experience.
8 A photographer’s delight
If photography is your passion, you have to visit Kumb Mela. Even if you are a mobile phone photographer, you will get enough candid moments to cherish your visit!
9 Just to be there
Yes. Just be there for human watching! Look at how devout, faithful come from their homes in small villages to seek blessings of saints and sadhus. Watch sadhus performing different rituals. Watch the sea of humanity moving towards the bathing ghats to take bath. Vendors selling things from Cotton candies to religious material. Just watch happiness on the face of people who have taken a dip in the river!
Important Tips for visiting the Kumbh Mela
- The nearest airport is Allahabad airport but only one flight from Air India operates as of now for Mela. The convenient airport is Varanasi which is two and half hours drive. Allahabad is well-connected to another places in country by train.
All details on Kumbh Mela 2019 including booking for tents are available in this link. Book your stay well in advance. https://kumbh.gov.in/en
- Avoid Holy Bath days when the crowds swell by threefold. If you don’t mind crowds then go ahead on those days as well.
- Wear a good slip ons. You may have a to walk a lot and every time you want to seek blessings of a sadhu, you have to remove your footwear. A good and comfortable slip ons will be good. Here are things you can do in mela.
- Akhara hop like beach hopping!
- Sanskriti Gram
- Kala Gram
- Cultural events
- Yoga Programs
- Book Exhibition
- Food Courts
- Amusement parks
- Laser show
- Merchandising stalls
- Adventure sports
- The making of Kumbh are
- Mornings and Evenings are likely to be colder. A good pull over or a jacket will do good.
- You can attend the discourses given by Sadhus in their Akhadas any time. There are no tickets.
- You are welcome to talk to any sadhu. But aware and respect them if they are doing meditation or rituals. Some Sadhus may act rough. But don’t worry about it. It is always good to bow to them and keep a small donation – dakshina – of 50 Rupees and then talk.
- Junaa Akhara looks surreal with naked Naga sadhus sitting in their tents and performing rituals or just relaxing. You can always approach them. Many of them can speak good English.
- Unless you take special permission, you will not be allowed into akhadas when they do special rituals which will be restricted to their own members.
- Carry a good camera. Don’t go too close to click sadhus. Some of them will be very friendly and are willing to pose for you and others may not. Be aware of the situation.
- Get a map of the Kumbh mela of all the sectors. Orient yourself so that you don’t get lost.
- We saw some people bringing their vehicles inside sectors. It may not happen always as police may stop movement of vehicles at any time.
- The crowds will increase as day pass by. The crowds will be high in the evenings.
- If you want to do some adventurous activity like Paragliding, ballooning etc, you can do it.
- Three mega event centres have multiple cultural events which you can visit.
- Climb up the stairs to Vaishnav Ashram for a panoramic view of the complete Kumbh Mela. The stairs start just next to Sangam Cafe which is close to Sector 16. Any rickshaw fellow will guide you.
- Dont get enamoured by heavy noise by blaring loudspeakers and vehicles. You can cover your ears with a ear plug if you want. But we don’t suggest it. It isn’t part of overall Kumbh experience!!
- Dont get perturbed by crowds. Especially when you are crossing the bridges to go to jetty for boat ride.
- Don’t forget to wear the life jacket when in a boat.
- Plan to visit Sanskriti Gram in Sector 19 where they have depicted India’s history from India Valley Civilisation till 19 century.
- We strongly advise you to plan a trip to Varanasi along with Kumbh Mela. Keep a minimum of 2 days for exploring the holy city. You can read series of lovely stories from us on Varanasi here – Varanasi When you are in Varanasi we strongly recommend you to stay in a wonderful Aashray Home Stay. The Kapoors who are hosts are a gracious couple. We had a wonderful time there.
- Keep half day to explore Allahabad. It has some lovely monuments like Khushru Bagh, Anand Bhavan, Fort etc
Kumbh Mela is a celebration of faith of Hinduism. It is also place to loosen yourself and be a part of thousands of devout. An enriching experience which will live with you for long. Plan a trip as soon as possible !