We were very excited to witness the craziness and fondness of Naga Baba’s towards first Shahi Sanaan. So we slept early before the day of Shahi Sanaan so we could stay awake whole night. We woke up in the afternoon, did our daily routine and wore warm clothes pack with hoddies and sweaters because we didn’t wanted to die in the cold and was all set to go. We reached around 7 in the Kumbh Mela and directly went to the Triveni Sangam ( where three Rivers meet, Ganga, Yamuna and mythical river Saraswati ).
The devotees were already crowded and were taking a dip in the water. It was great to see the enthusiasm among the people. Later we went to see the preparation done for Peshwai. Basically Peshwai is a form of rally where every akhara has something unique to go with. So there were horses, camel, trucks decorated with Dhols and Banjos. It’s something you just don’t want to miss out.
After that when we were again walking towards Triveni Sangam, we took a hault to drink tea because as the time was passing by it was getting cold and cold and specially near the river side, it’s just terrible. While we were having tea, there was a puppy who was trying to get into the blankets of people who were sleeping on sand and unconscious were kicking him. He was very small and we just couldn’t leave him like that, so my friend picked him up and the poor soul was shivering like hell. Literally shivering. Even if I am worried and concerned about the puppy I am shit scared of animals, it’s kinda phobia. Now what to do we didn’t had anything to fit and cover him with, lastly we took out camera cloth and wrapped him. We walked around for awhile sat near bonfires so that he would get some heat. I built up the courage to hold him because after a point the hands were getting numb due to being out and we needed to shot too and I just can’t let my friend suffer, it was difficult but once I got settle with the puppy it was different and beautiful feeling. So we walked and walked didn’t knew where to drop him because we can’t even take him and shot the Shahi sanaan. After hours we found a safe place for him which was way away from Triveni Sangam, there were akhara people and police officers near a born fire who assure us that they will take care of him. It was very sad feeling to leave him, specially for me because I had never touched a dog hell never been with him in a close proximity and this soul just had me. Anyway, we said our goodbyes to the puppy and Left for Shahi Sanaan till than it was already 4 we rushed but the pipa pull got closed for Naga Baba’s because they don’t like interruption during their time for which they wait for years to witness and they just want to be in their own enjoyment so they don’t like interruptions. We were disappointed that we couldn’t actually be their to shot but happy that we helped a soul.
We waited for them to return and that was definitely something great to watch. All the Naga sadhus were so happy after the dip in Ganga. They just enjoyed their heart out with flowers decorated all over them, dancing like their no tomorrow, it was the most joyful moment for them as well as us to be able to watch it live.
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Standing on the bridge of Jhusi, I could literally see the whole ground of Kumbh illuminated and beautiful it literally took my breath away, I am not saying this for the sake of saying it but indeed the scenario was mesmerizing.
Later as we walked the path of Kumbh, we got into our work mode and started clicking pictures, taking visuals, talking to people and the first person we encountered was a Baba named, ‘Baapu Singh’. He was 75+, walking with his sitar and chipali ( pearcussion instrument ) along with a flag of his Maharaj. While talking to him we got to know he sings Kabir ke dohe as his way of expressing his beliefs and portraying his devotion and the cool thing was he has never missed a single Kumbh from the time he was born. He also sang for us which was really heart touching.
We encountered many people, got to know their stories and their perspective. We didn’t really went into the Akharas the first and second day, from third day we started visiting akharas to talk to Naga sadhus. We talked to one Baba from Juna Akhara, we wanted to approach him and convince him to talk to us because he was not letting anybody to take his pictures and was shouting at them. So we started off as we are just here to take blessings, made little conversation here and there warmed him up and then he even allowed us to click pictures and shot him. It was great to know his love as Naga for lord Shiva. Infact he was 16 when he became Naga Baba and now he is around 60’s.
Ahead of him, there was a Baba in rudraksha from top to bottom. He was pretty famous too because of his attire and white rats, rats because on his hat made of rudraksha, were 5 white rats who don’t leave the space of his hat. It amazing to see and talk with such personalities, it good to know that side of the story without any judgements.
Next blog will be about our experience of first Shahi Sanaan and my best part of the Kumbh. So follow us to know more.
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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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Hello lovely readers,
Greetings from Perfect Blenders.
I am writing this blog, to let you’ll know that tomorrow is my train for the world’s largest religious gathering in India, ‘KUMBH MELA’ which is held this year in Prayagraj ( Uttar Pradesh ). Let me give you’ll little information about what is Kumbh Mela. According to Hindu scriptures, it is believed that taking a holy dip in Sangam ( which is a river in Prayagraj ) during Kumbh which is imbued with power, promotes spiritual growth, health, emotional strength and puts you on the path to moksha (liberation). Kumbh Mela is also held in Haridwar (Uttarakhand), Nashik (Maharashtra) and Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh). The Prayagraj Kumbh Mela is highest among all pilgrimages and provides one with the highest virtue. It has references in the Vedas.
The Kumbh Mela is held on a rotation basis every three years in Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh), Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain. Then there are the Ardha Kumbh Melas held every six years in Prayagraj and Haridwar. The Purna Kumbh or Maha Kumbh is organised only in Prayagraj every 12 years. As per the calendar, the next Maha Kumbh will be held in 2025 in Prayagraj.
Since last kumbh Mela, perfect Blenders are smitten with the whole vibe of it. I could not attend it, but this time I am all set to witnessed the devotion towards the city, the positive vibes which it shares, the trance of the Naga Baba’s and the lot more. Hippie culture is largely spot there. It’s a 55 day long event starting from January 15. This year 150 million people are expected to attend the Mela. We wouldn’t be staying there for long, but I surely be sharing my experiences with you’ll from time to time.
Note : The pictures are clicked by Perfect Blender during last Kumbh Mela.
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