Friday, February 8, 2013

Kumbh Mela 2013

Tuesday the 5th we leave for Allahabad the site of Kumbh Mela 2013. The Kumbh Mela is a sacred gathering that happens every 12 years at this confluence of the Ganges and two other rivers.. All leaders of various Hindu groups have built Ashram tent camps. We are staying at a private camp, but the facilities are like an Ashram with beds of boards. We share a room with another couple.
logging company with "trucks" in front. They make furniture out of the logs
our room

We walk across one of the pontoon bridges to a main part of the encampment. There are not millions of people here yet as really important days astrologically do not happen for a week or so. The holy men are here though and we are blessed by a few. We see the man whose devotion has led him to hold his right arm up for 35 years. His hand has shriveled and his shoulder is frozen. Some of the holy men cover themselves in nothing but ashes and live lives of poverty. Although we see one talking on his cell phone. This is a huge place and some of the older ladies grow footsore and weary. So the guide hires tuk-tuks to cart us around from sector to sector. After the sun goes down the neon comes on in fantastical displays.  
one of the pontoon bridges

out side an Ashram

Holy man who gives advice. Serve others.

A holy man serves others with smoke.

Entrance to a larger Ashram

holy man

Holy man who has kept his right arm up for 35 years

Neon at night
one holy man has the stick wrapped around his penis with the other standing on it

after dark

getting in the spirit

We hear Hare Krishna chants late at night.

Kumbh Mela 2013. I would like a t-shirt for the gym. No such thing is to be found. 

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