At the Kumbh Mela in India

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Leading Research Fellow
Affiliation: Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 7

Kumbh Mela-2019, the greatest sacred festival in the world, which was held from 15th January to 4th March near an Indian city called Prayagraj, is at the center of the author’s attention. This ancient festival is a door to Hinduism. Kumbh Mela was first mentioned in historic sources in the 7th century.

The festival was a massive and well-organized event which attracted 140 million pilgrims and many foreign tourists. It also had a political meaning due to the upcoming election campaign to the House of the People (Lok Sabha) of the Indian Parliament. On 24th February Indian Prime-Minister Narendra Modi visited the Kumbh Mela to perform the sacred dip and participate in other rituals. The opposition called the actions of the leader of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) an act of “populism and propaganda” and “collecting the political ambrosia” officially aimed to consolidate the Hindu community.

The author tells about the akharas’ procession, the nagas’ manners, the sadhus’ dip, ritual dips, transfer of the pilgrims at Sangam, and the intense cultural program offered to all of them. The program included more than 500 cultural events in 6 pavilions as well as visiting the Museum of the history of India in the open air, different exhibitions, cinemas and a laser show. The ‘Global Participation’ Forum was a part of the program. Participants from 188 countries, including the writer of the following article, took part in. The Forum was held under the protection of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations.The series of the writer’s original photos is attached to the article.

KeywordsIndia, Kumbh Mela, Sangam, hinduism, pilgrims
Publication date07.08.2019
Number of characters9624
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1. Sahay U., Nayak G. 2018. Kumbh India in a Mela. Gurugram. SAUV Communications.

2. Uprety A. Shoring UP Saffron // The Week. 27.01.2019.

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