02 Sep 2009 ::
Yes. It is finally true. We are going to India! Our tickets confirm that we leave January 12th 2010 for two glorious months in the sun.
So, the plan was to leave in December 2008. Then it moved to January 2009. But it turned out for the best, because there’s a very big festival on the Ganges in 2010: millions bathe in its waters to wash away Karma. And we’ll avoid the ridiculous winter Olympic hype here. That’s the plan anyhow. The rest – vaccines, paperwork, reservations – demands our attention.
The festival is Kumbha Mela, and in 2010 it is held at Haridwar (north of Delhi) in the foothills of the Himalayas. The next time this festival occurs in Haridwar is 2021. I’m just exhausted thinking about this festival. Why? Read on.
Kumbha Mela occurs four times every twelve years, rotating between four cities: Allahabad at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati Rivers; Nasik on the Godavari River, Ujjain on the Sipra River, and Hardwar on the Ganges.
Bathing in these rivers during the Kumbha Mela cleanses both body and spirit. Attendance has been anywhere from 5 to 18 million, making the Kumbha Mela the largest religious gathering in the world. The festival is traditionally known as the “mela of the ascetics and sadhus” because thousands of naked holy men from various sects immerse themselves in the river at the start of the ceremony. This is where we plan to be. Yep. Certified crazy we are.