Critical Commentary: Hindus Enter River Ganges In Maha Kumbh Mela, World’s Largest Religious Festival

Posted on March 7, 2013 by


     Once every 12 years, millions of people travel from all over India to the small town of Allahabad for the Maha Kumbh Mela, or also known as the Grand Pitcher Festival. This festival is at the point where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet.

It is believed that over the next few months over 100 million people will pass through this temporary city, which is larger than Athens.  More than 1.5 million people gathered by 8 a.m. on Monday. This ancient festival grows in size every year. This partly is because of the growth of India’s population. Also it is seen as evidence that spiritual life is thriving in the middle class.

      The festival has it’s roots in Hindu tradition. It says that the god Vishnu wrestled a gold pot containing the nectar of immortality away from some demons. During the 12 day fight, four drops fell to earth landing on the cities of Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujain and Nasik. Every three years the festival is held in one of these spots. Allahabad is the most sacred of the 4.  For over 2,000 years this festival has been the meeting spot of Hindu sandhus, who live in the for forests or caves in the Himalayas. Some are naked, some wrapped in saffron or leopard-print cloth and most are smoking cannabis pipes. They are visited by pilgrims who proffer alms and get blessings.

     There are many pictures and videos that come along with this article. These pictures show these naked/dressed men celebrating and running in the rivers. Other things I noticed from the pictures were how skinny many of these men are. It’s hard to say if these pictures are positive or negative, they show you many of the things these people are doing, but also you don’t know the meaning behind many of them. This is where the media influnces us. We see these pictures and learn things about these people but at the same time they are depicted as the people we have known as hindus. There are meanings behind why they cover themselves in ash and why they wear very little clothes, but when someone just looks at these pictures they could see these acts as weird.

     This article was written by Sharat Pradhan, he has written some articles for Reuters which is a big international news company. This article was published by the Huffington Post, which is also a well known news company.

Sharat Pradhan, Hindus Enter River Ganges In Maha Kumbh Mela, World’s Largest Religious Festival, Huffington Post.

Hindus Enter River Ganges In Maha Kumbh Mela, Worlds Largest Religious Festival

Image Photo credit: Flickr under Create Common Licence

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