Monday, February 7, 2011

Travelling with a Purpose - To Experience the Magh Mela in Allahabad

The Vedic literature states that whoever bathes in the Triveni Sangam at the auspicious time of the Magh Mela is guaranteed liberation from birth and death.

That is specifically the reason why the Magh Mela (the annual festival of Allahabad held during the months of Jan-Feb), also known as the Mini Kumbh Mela, has always attracted millions of sages and pilgrims from all over the world.


I along with my family was on our first pilgrimage to the Magh Mela. But our main purpose for visiting the Mela was not only to take a holy dip at the Triveni Sangam, Prayag but also to walk the path where lakhs of saints have left their footprints and experience the positive energy of one of the largest spiritual gathering in the world.


Our excitement rose as we started the walk towards the bathing area. Till the eyes could see and beyond, the entire stretch of land, resembled an enormous sea of pilgrims. We could see many people carrying huge sacks containing their belongings on their heads having come from faraway parts of India. There were people of all ages, genders, babies clinging to their parents, saffron and yellow clad sadhus (sages), and policemen shouting instructions to the devotees. Items for sale included almost everything from tea, fruits, prasads, flowers, diyas even plastic bottles to fill the water of the holiest of the holy. There were puppet shows for the kids, an amusement park, shops selling clothing items like dress materials from Surat, sarees from Banaras, traditional footwear and jewelery from Rajasthan and much much more.


The ‘Bhule Bhatke Shivir’ (Lost and Found Camp) loudspeakers continuously blared out new names of the people who had got separated from their near and dear ones. Living in a crowded suburb of Mumbai and having experienced the crowds first hand, I have to admit I had never seen anything like what was before me that day. The sheer number of people overwhelmed me. But the amazing thing was that we never got jammed and everyone kept on moving as one big mass of humanity!


Nearing the Sangam, we saw many colored tents spread across large areas on both sides of the road. It seemed like a whole city full of tents had come up. People known as Kalpvaasis, stay in these tents for 1 month and follow strict rules of penance to appease the 33 crore Gods believed to be present here during this time of the year.


The city of tents had something for everyone, from markets to eateries even hospitals, all temporarily put up for the event. I saw T.V. vans of various broadcasters who had come to cover the Mela.

One hour and a tiring but nevertheless stirring walk later, we finally reached the Sangam area. Today, being Makar Sankranti, was one of the important days of immersion in the confluence of three of the holy rivers – The Ganga, the Yamuna and the subterranean Saraswati. Bathing in any of these sacred rivers is purifying but the purification is said to increase a hundred times if done at this holy time and place, liberating one from repeated birth and death. Pilgrims were everywhere – some meditating, or performing charity, reading sacred texts, some getting ready for a bath, or returning shivering after taking a dip, while some simply keeping a watch on one’s belongings. I felt awed by their dedication and devotion.


I navigated my way towards the bathing area and stepped in the purifying waters. Even the simple act of a holy dip in some way uplifted and energized my soul. It was an experience which is difficult to put down in words and is best felt or understood in person. We prayed to Maa Ganga, floated a diya and offered holy water to the Sun God to receive His blessings.


Today, 1 year later... when we look back, we can say that each minute we spent in this captivating carnival was a prayer, every moment of it dipped in divinity; it was truly an expedition of spiritual enlightenment. There was so much to see, so much to feel, so much to soak into… believe me, one has to be there, in the midst of it all, to really get a hang of it!

PS - This article is a part of the IndiBlogger and Cleartrip "My Purpose" Contest.
You can view it on Cleartrip here - http://mypurpose.cleartrip.com/trips/32173

If you are an IndiBlogger and liked reading my article,
Please vote for it on Indivine HERE!!


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73 comments:

  1. Awesome.. I feel like being there for the occassion. Great write-up and nostalgic pictures.. Thanks for sharing Arti..

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  2. wow this gathering looks amazing ... i had a similar experience when i went to rameshwaram ... the coolest thing in rameshwaram besides bathing in the sea is you to the temple and we take bath in the 12 wells inside the temple complex...each well is named after a river and the water in each well tastes different inspite of being next to each other !! anyway the experience is refreshing and your post is so interesting ... atleast i can enjoy it through your lovely post

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  3. A marvelous, fascinating and very moving post! I really enjoyed reading and seeing your photos! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I do hope you have a beautiful week!

    Sylvia

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  4. That must have been a fantastic trip Arti. Love to hear and see photos of India. Will be back again to browse :)

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  5. What a pilgrimmage!! Did you buy anything or go on any of the rides? How long did you stay there?

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  6. Like always....a Brilliant writeup! I have never been to Kumbh, but now have planned to visit next year for sure....and all the Best for the Contest too :)

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  7. Excellent one, but I am afraid to be in such crowded places:(.My vote for you:)

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  8. Totally engrossing. The magnificent pictures speak of the beautiful saga lived. The detailed and gripping narrative kept eyes glued till the end.
    I really look forward to a trip soon to take a dip.
    exuberant.

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  9. Awesome pics . beautifully defining your purpose.

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  10. Grief look at all those people. I'm surprised you reached the water after only an hours walk. Thanks for another interesting and informative post - You would certainly get my vote.

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  11. Wow, stunning.. Must be an amazing experience. These pictures look so peaceful!Thanks for sharing, and have a great week!

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  12. Thanks for the detailed article on Magh Mela... it must be a coincidence that I saw on one of the TV channels about the importance of 'Magh' month early morning bath in rivers, especially ganga or triveni sangam!

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  13. This is great, I have never been to any mela.

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  14. your post is dipped in divinity indeed.

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  15. I always enjoy reading your posts and the pictures.Thanks for sharing.

    Thanks a lot for your sweet and lovely comment on my blog.

    Have a beautiful day :-)

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  16. Wonderful insight on the place Arti. The pictures really have the impact and shows in itself that its a Mini Kumbh Mela indeed.

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  17. Great work here...I always admire your work n passion towards what you do..keep going n good luck with everything :)

    US Masala

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  18. My goodness, that first photo!! I could stare at it for hours.

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  19. hey nice post supported by good visuals! have voted!

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  20. good post and good photos... showed the importance and the flavour of the festival... have voted for u in indivine... good luck for the contest~

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  21. Arti that's a beautiful post! Thank you for taking me along on your pilgrimage. It looks amazing -- a cross between carnival/fair and religious ceremony. Wonderful.

    Good luck on the contest! I am honored to read your blog and learn a little bit of your wonderful culture.

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  22. Lovely write up ...All the best will surely vote:)

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  23. I love the idea of being dipped in divinity.

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  24. Thanks for taking us along on your fascinating pilgrimage to the Magh Mela. That must have been an inspiring experience for you.

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  25. Fascinating post and very informative. Thanks for this.
    Great pictures too.

    Have a good week, Boonie

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  26. Fascinating post and very informative. Thanks for this.
    Great pictures too.

    Have a good week, Boonie

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  27. This is a really Nice post , great pictures.

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  28. lovely write up arti with beautiful pics...have a wonderful weekend...

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  29. Hey Arti, thank you for coming! Hope you have a lovely weekend. Here in Germany, Valentines is not such a big thing, but i still love it in blogland! Have a fun day!

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  30. A Visit at your blog is so refreshing.
    I have been to Allahabad twice , its a nice place. The Naini Bridge over river Yamuna is splendid architecture there.
    Lots of Temples there too.
    Thanks for the visit on my Blog again.
    Will surely vote for you.

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  31. Dear Arti

    Thanks for stopping by and for your encouraging comment in my blog.

    I had never heard of Mini Kumbh Mela and your write up is fantastic. I feel like I had a trip myself:)

    Do keep visiting...
    Good Day!

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  32. I just wanted to stop by to say, an albeit late, many thanks for my birthday poem - it made my day extra special.

    Glad to be back visiting you, apologies for my absence.

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  33. wow, interesting spiritual quest!
    hey arti, thanks for your vote on my post. However I think the vote has gone to the wrong submission. I had two submissions. I couldn't withdraw the first though I wanted to. It had just the poem and not the entire travelogue. Could you instead vote for the other full post, also entitled Tat Twam Asi, with the permalink: http://mindmorphemes.blogspot.com/2011/02/tat-twam-asi.html ?

    I'd appreciate it very much! Thanks!

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  34. Here's the link to the right post: http://www.indiblogger.in/indipost.php?post=47176

    :)

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  35. Really nice read! I am new to blogging and just meandered around to see how it goes. I chanced to see yours and its amazing how you have compiled your journeys. Thanks for sharing.
    Let me know how I am doing...masalamangomantra.blogspot.com

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  36. Shalom Arti. You describe it all so well. For the first time I start to understand about such a pilgrimage. Thank you for sharing your feelings and photos.

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  37. wonderful pictures and very informative. thanks for sharing your experiences.

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  38. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for leaving such a great comment!
    Your blog is very interesting as well, a lot of very good info and photos that help us discovering your country through your eyes. DeeBee

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  39. Thanks for your visit and comments on my site. I got thrilled browsing your site. India is always my dream destination...and here is your site presenting me things I want to see and read about India. Very kaleidoscopic and cinematic.

    Thank you very much again. I will include your url in my blogroll so that I can visit your site daily.

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  40. Wow that would really be something to see. Thank you for stopping by my blog!

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  41. Thanks for sharing with us your pilgrimage to the Magh Mela, Arti. A very significant and uplifting experience. I enjoy this post, with the beautiful images and the interesting information.
    Have a pleasant day!

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  42. What an absolutely wonderful post :) I am sure it was an amazing experience, hopefully one day even I will be able to attend one!

    'Bhule Bhatke Shivir' rings a bell with all the 'Kumbh ke mele mein bichede bhai' storyline in Bollywood. I guess even today such a thing is possible :)

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  43. Hi Arti ! Wonderful pics and the tour too! i thought i am there with the trip. It's so spiritual. Many ppl agnostic these days it gives a real joy to read something truly spiritual especially about our beautiful traditions. Thanks for sharing dear of course voted and hey Best Luck!

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  44. Gr8 post n some nice clicks...I see u do a lot of travelling..i like travelling too...btw thanks for commenting on my photoblog and on indiblogger....i appreciate it :) couldn't reply on indiblogger coz of some error with their new template n all, so am replying here...cheers!

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  45. Its an interesting coincidence that 2 posts written on the same place is displayed one below the other. Nice read. Good wisehs for the contest.

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  46. Hi Arti, love your new blog theme - it looks good. Even better than before! Hope you have a happy weekend with more great things to explore!

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  47. Your writing makes me go there. When? I do not know. :(

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  48. Beautiful pictures! Looking forward to more from you!

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  49. Hi Arti,I am commenting again as I wanted to tell you something.You know I got an opportunity to bragbin at BLOGJUNTA and I mentioned your name in my gratitude post.I would like to see you there soon.

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  50. Such nice info... it feels like I am the one who is visisting there.

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  51. Hi Arti,you are such a wonderful person and loved all the comments and just wish that this time you should win the contest.

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  52. Excellent post it feels like being there. keep it up Arti

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  53. Congrats Aarti for winning the cleartrip contest Bonus prize

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  54. You are contributing to reduce the crowd out there. The organizers should thank you.
    the post is so detailed, one does not need to visit.
    Great post. Keep visiting

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  55. Arti, beautiful photographs and superb details!

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  56. Brilliant coverage with meaningful and beautiful pictures attached girl.. yep some things are very difficult to express very rightly, and that includes the feeling of clensing ones' self. Subah subah yeh padh ke sacchi bohot accha laga... :D good going girl

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  57. generally i avoid such huge congregations...as i get panic attack in unorganized events....(that's why never went to hardwar kuhmbh mela even though it was my second home there!!)
    so am glad you captured the moments of the mela

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  58. Liked your post and the clicks are awesome.

    Dora's Unique Touch
    http://chandradey.blogspot.in/

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  59. nice post....good job done..!!!

    www.trip-o-graphy.blogspot.in

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  60. Thanks for taking me through the Magh Mela :) Your write up was refreshingly personal. India's melas are just something else!

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