1200px-Kumbh_Mela2001By YosarianOwn work, CC BY 3.0, Link

Colorful, Boisterous, Teeming with millions of salvation seekers, and intriguing- in short, a place your mom asked you to avoid in your childhood.

Fortuitously you never heeded those pieces of advice!

Kumbh Mela, the largest peaceful congregation on planet earth, is alternatively held every 12 years at 4 places in North and Central India- Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain. An Ardh Kumbh Mela too is held every 6 years at the same places.

A carnival of celebrating good fortune, seeking salvation and washing away sins of a lifetime; the major attraction at kumbh mela is bathing on a few preordained auspicious days according to the Hindu calendar.

Hindus widely believe that a dip in the sacred rivers of Ganges (Haridwar), Confluence of Ganges, Yamuna & Sarasvati (Allahabad), Godavari (Nasik) and Shipra (Ujjain) washes away all the sins and prepares you for the indescribable, elusive Moksha (Salvation), the definitive aspiration of being born as a human being.

Although identified as a Hindu religious congregation, Kumbh Mela is an eternal favorite of international travelers and tourists, especially from countries like the UK, USA, and Australia.

Tens of millions of Indians including the mystical naga sadhus and foreigners from every part of the world come together to experience the exhilaration and are left mesmerized by the rituals and conventions that form an integral part of Hinduism.

There absolutely is no other recurrent gathering that can act as an analogy to Kumbh Mela. Think 20X of The Rio Carnival, the biggest ever carnival in the history of mankind.

The next Kumbh Mela is scheduled to be held in Allahabad (aka Prayag) from January 15- March 04, 2019. Despite the fact that it’s an Ardh Kumbh Mela, Allahabad offers the distinctive opportunity of washing your sins and attaining salvation at the confluence of 3 of the most sacred rivers – Ganges, Yamuna and the invisible yet sacrosanct Sarasvati.

Just the right time to plan a visit to view Vibrant India in its entire splendor!

Even if you are not too religious, the expanse of ceremonies and rituals like the Peshwai Procession of various akhadas (sect of sadhus), magnificent darshans and the inevitable tussles between the akhadas for the Shahi Snan (Royal Bath) on designated dates will make for an impressive photo and video portfolio for your Instagram feed and Snapchat conversations. Plus you stand the incredible possibility of spiritual awakening and washing away your sins in a single dip. Come to think of it, Kumbh (pitcher) can be your real Cup of Life!

Kumbh Mela 2019 Bathing Dates

Date (2019) Day Event
15th January Tuesday Makar Sankranti (1st Shahi Snan)
21st January Monday Paush Purnima
4th February Monday Mauni Amavasya (2nd Shahi Snan- Main)
10th February Sunday Basant Panchami (3rd Shahi Snan)
19th February Tuesday Maghi Purnima
4th March Monday Maha Shivratri

Kumbh Mela 2019 Allahabad – What to expect

Revered by Hindus across the world, Allahabad is the sacred city of Sangam, the confluence of 3 rivers- Ganges, Yamuna and the invisible Sarasvati. Myth has it that Lord Brahma referred to it as Tirth Raj or The King of all Pilgrimage centers.

The present day Allahabad is about 600 km from New Delhi, the capital of India. You can take a flight (about 1.45 hours), a train (6-7 hours), or travel by road (10-12 hours) from here. Other metros like Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai etc. also offer flights to the city of Allahabad. Please get in touch with us to discuss the most convenient way to get in from your place.

Inter-city transport will be managed by our tour operators, so you can rest easy over that aspect. We will ensure you get to explore the city on foot, in rickshaws and in cars for soaking in the effervescence of the city at the time of Kumbh Mela 2019.

The major attractions are:

Peshwai Procession

Call it the final countdown to the Kumbh Mela! The Peshwai procession is the resplendent march of thousands of Naga Sadhus – the naked ascetics who are venerated for their austerity and dreaded as much for their fierce tempers- into their assigned camp in the Kumbh Mela.  The majestic procession is led by the Naga Sadhus displaying their enviable acrobatic and martial skills. Dozens of elephants, horses and loud musical bands complete the Peshwai procession, a sight that should be at the top of your bucket list if you’re planning to visit Kumbh Mela in 2019 at Allahabad.

Shahi Snan

According to Hindu legends, Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 12 years at 4 holy places- blessed on account of the fact that 1 drop each of the divine nectar (Amrut)  dropped at each of these 4 places- Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain, while the pot of nectar was being transported by Garuda, the celestial bird.

The immortality characteristics of that nectar are transported to people who take a holy bath at preordained times. Since sadhus (Saints and ascetics) are intensely revered for their mission of protecting the Hindu Dharma, they are given priority over every other person to take a dip- thus the name Shahi Snan or Royal Bath.

There are 3 Shahi Snans- one each on Makar Sankranti, Mauni Amavasya and Basant Panchami. Of these 3, the one on Mauni Amavasya is the main Shahi Snan. Remember to carry your cameras to capture the exotic vistas you’ll be a witness to.

Shahi Snans is categorically the most important days of Kumbh Mela and the celebrations begin even before dawn, at about 4 AM. Long processions of saints and their followers from 13 different akhadas are applauded along the route that is decorated with rangolis and flowers strewn all over. The naga sadhus and other saints arrive in style with many of them on horses, chariots or elephants.

This procession is a sight to behold, especially if you are witnessing it for the first time. Try to envision thousands of naga sadhus naked or in a bare minimum of clothes, adorned with garlands, brandishing shining swords; with the holy ash smeared all over their bodies shimmering in the rising sunlight. For added effects, blowing conches or deafeningly chanting religious catchphrases creates a surreal experience that is impossible to ever erase from your mind!

Once the saints are done with their bathing rituals, common people are then allowed to begin their sacraments of taking the holy dip.

Akhadas and Naga Sadhus

While at the Kumbh Mela, don’t miss to visit the camps of the 13 akhadas. Their lifestyle will certainly be a revelation. While most of them live a minimalistic lifestyle, naga sadhus take it to just another level of celibacy. Their gruelling lifestyle and proclivity for martial skills have given them the right to be the first among equals- the akhada of naga sadhus are the first to take the Shahi Snan.

Every akhada conducts satsangs for the benefit of common people. You can join in and listen to the spiritual and religious discourse. Plenty of photo opportunities exist, and if you conduct yourself like an enamored follower, you might as well get the opportunity to meet the sect head and learn a few insider secrets about Dharma and Theology.

Nights at Kumbh Mela 2019

Remarkably dazzling, the nights at camps near the river banks transport you to a vivid collage of multihued illusions. The city of Allahabad never sleeps during the Kumbh Mela and the best place to view the luminosities is the Triveni Ghat. The cool breeze of the calm river bank will soothe your soul besides offering you the rare opportunity to converse with yourself and contemplate over your past and your future.

Food at the Kumbh Mela

With an estimated 30-40 million people expected, the kumbh mela authorities shall make elaborate arrangements for rations and cooked food as well. As many pilgrims and all the akhadas come here for the entire duration of the mela, the government runs shops that sell rations like wheat, rice, pulses etc. at heavily subsidized prices.

While it may not be prudent for a tourist on a short duration trip to cook her own food; we certainly recommend you to don’t miss the free food langars at camps of various akhadas, and those organized by other associations near the ghats in Allahabad city. Not just because they are free and delicious, but also because you’ll love the experience of dining in a community kitchen.

The kumbh mela 2019 is also preparing for providing Indian, continental, Chinese and other international food at its mass canteens at very economical prices.

Tips for a safer Kumbh Mela experience

Finally, let us remind you that you will be in a place swarming with people, sometimes so much that it might be a challenge to see the sand you walk on. The weather at that time of the year will be chilling, often falling to lower single digit Celsius. Please take care to follow the following instructions and you’ll leave with pleasant memories for a lifetime.

  • Carry a good number of warm clothes. Remember to carry a few pairs of loose-fitting clothes for bathing.
  • No swimsuits and trunks, please. Morality here is directly proportional to the size of your clothes.
  • Carry an umbrella as winter rains- though sporadic- can be tough on you.
  • Keep a few bottles of hand sanitizer – the one you can use without water – always with you.
  • Make sure to eat carbo-loaded energy-rich food at regular intervals.
  • Kumbh Mela is a Bollywood fantasy of everything that can, going wrong. If you’re bringing in the kids, be extra careful as getting lost in the Atlantic of humanity is extremely easy and quite possible. We suggest a GPS tracker, suitably hidden from naked eyes.
  • Keep your medicines handy, including common OTCs like Paracetamol, Aspirin, Digestive liquids, Antiseptic ointment, and a pack of Boots Assorted Plasters as an effective antidote to blisters on the feet.
  • Try to come out of river water sooner than most people.  They may have committed more sins.
  • The nights at Kumbh Mela are beautiful. And unsafe. Take someone from our team along, preferably a local looking, and Hindi speaking individual.
  • Save the Camp in your Google Map locations. It may be preferable to also click a few photographs of the camp facades and a few nearby landmarks.
  • Arrive with a minimum of valuables. The mela is as much a place for salvation as it is a dreamland for pickpockets and petty criminals.
  • Trust your brains more than the gadgets; memorize the camp name, landmark name, and phone number of the camp manager. Write a few things down on a paper and save it in the inner pockets of your bag- it can help you in the event of an emergency.
  • There is a heavy deployment of police in the kumbh mela area, and most of the areas are under CCTV surveillance. If something disturbs your instincts, ask for help from a policeman. They are usually trustworthy.

Kumbh Mela, the largest religious and spiritual congregation is best experienced with an erudite and experienced friend. Holxo Holidays ensures every trip creates effusive memories for you – Memories that will help you discover your true self.

Kumbh Mela 2019 Itineraries

While you can find many Kumbh Mela 2019 tour packages, I suggest you explore India with friends like me! Do explore the following package before you finalize your journey to salvation.

Ardh Kumbh for 3 nights/ 4 days

Before I sign off, remember I’m available for any queries.

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Author Bio:

Manish P was born as a traveler but lost his way while trying to make a living; fortunately, he has found his footing again and is now furiously trying to make up for all the lost time. He also writes for Holxo.in.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinTravel PleasingTravel TipsBy Yosarian - Own work, CC BY 3.0, Link Colorful, Boisterous, Teeming with millions of salvation seekers, and intriguing- in short, a place your mom asked you to avoid in your childhood. Fortuitously you never heeded those pieces of advice! Kumbh Mela, the largest peaceful congregation on planet earth, is alternatively held...