After Shahi Sanaan, we decided to know the stories of Naga Baba’s and visit some tourist places in Allahabad. We visited places like Allahabad Fort, Ulta killa, Akshayavat, Alopidevi mandir, Bade Hanuman Ji temple, Gangoli Shivala and many more.
While walking on the streets of Mela, we encountered a bunch of children who were offering tea and biscuits as free service for the people visiting the Kumbh. It’s rare we find children nowadays doing something out of the smart phone world. We visited and talked to many Baba’s like barfani baba, who had beautiful rudraksha hat on his head and was making tea 24 hours for all the people visiting.
There was rabadi ( sweet ) baba who used to make rabadi for the people visiting. But my personal favourite Baba was Rajenra Bharati, well because we got connected to him so well. It was his 4 Kumbh in Allahabad, and he was Naga from the year 1998. He was such a sweet and caring person. He made us stay at his tent for two days and literally made sure that we were comfortable and warm. Where we should serve him, he served us, it was such a heart touching moment for us.
We met Ganga, a russian female who was very fond of the rituals, visited every kumbh and was in saffron attire all the time.
There was also a small Naga Baba whose age was 13 years old, who was learning from his guru all the things of being a Baba. When we asked him questions he didn’t knew what to say. He was so innocent giving blessings to everyone. We were done roaming and having good time in kumbh, it was time for us to leave the place, our heart was heavy and eyes were watery walking out of the gate. It was time for us to be back and our sweet bubble was burst. But like it is said, every good things come to an end.
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As I left my house on the journey of excitement, learning and self discovery, I was anxious, nervous and most importantly ready to experience something new. The journey began with empty compartments and free space in the express. It allowed me my space to admire the distance covered from Mumbai to Allahabad.
The changing in the environment and the decreasing temperature. It started to freeze in the train once we entered the border of Madhaya Pradesh and blankets weren’t enough to keep us warm. As a mumbaikar we are used to heat and fans ON in winter’s too. We reached on the second day of our train journey. Finding our destination was a rollercoaster ride for us with luggage’s all over us and cold all over the handkerchiefs. Finally when we managed to reach our temporarily home for the next 16 days, we just collapsed and when we woke up we were all set to explore the city and most importantly The Mela. The morning in Allahabad starts with stalls opening after 3 in the noon and street filled with Pani Puri stalls every 10 steps of walk. We discovered the third name for Pani Puri in India which is ‘Phulke’. So pani puri, gol gappe and phulke are one and the same.
As we reached the entrance of Kumbh Mela, standing there was a bliss feeling, the entrance gate was decorated beautiful with conch shells on either side and one big in the centre with orange color highlighted (featured image). The streets were filled with beautiful wall paintings, protection of police on every corner, infact there are booths of police officers on every signal for the convenience of the people.
The best part of the entrance was the huge pot ( kalash ) in the left corner of the entrance. It was standing big and huge welcoming the devotees to the largest religious gathering.
Read my next blog to know about our experience inside the Kumbh.
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