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Kumbh Mela 2012
Old 06-19-2012, 04:48 PM   #1
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Kumbh Mela 2012

DW is wanting to go the the Kumbh Mela next year (Kumbh Mela - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )while on a tour of various parts of India. Anyone been to the last one 12 years ago? Any folks here plan to attend? How hard could it be to meet up with friends with all our modern technology?
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Old 06-19-2012, 05:06 PM   #2
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DW is wanting to go the the Kumbh Mela next year (Kumbh Mela - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )while on a tour of various parts of India. Anyone been to the last one 12 years ago? Any folks here plan to attend? How hard could it be to meet up with friends with all our modern technology?
From the Wikipedia article,
Quote:
In 2001, the Kumbh Mela was held in Prayag, aka Allahabad. The India government estimates that about 70 million people came to this festival in north India to bathe in the holy river Ganges where it meets with the also holy Yamuna river.
I have never been to this, but my guess is that it would be VERY hard to meet up with friends there, modern technology or not, due to the millions of people in attendance.
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:56 PM   #3
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I am not very clear of your goal i.e. meeting your friends but why Kumbh Mela, why not Delhi or somewhere decent place? As an Indian, I don't stand Kumbh Mela, I wonder what will be your condition who is totally new to the culture.. (We Indians are not famous for discipline)
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Old 06-21-2012, 01:31 PM   #4
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I am not very clear of your goal i.e. meeting your friends but why Kumbh Mela, why not Delhi or somewhere decent place? As an Indian, I don't stand Kumbh Mela, I wonder what will be your condition who is totally new to the culture.. (We Indians are not famous for discipline)
Our goal is to experience the Kumbh Mela, we would like to go with friends but will go even if they do not. We have see various corners of the world including off islands of Fiji, been to Bali and Cambodia but we also wonder if that has prepared us for an encounter with this event in India.
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Old 06-21-2012, 03:42 PM   #5
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DW is wanting to go the the Kumbh Mela next year (Kumbh Mela - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia )while on a tour of various parts of India. Anyone been to the last one 12 years ago? Any folks here plan to attend? How hard could it be to meet up with friends with all our modern technology?
Nothing useful to contribute but I must say that I found the information fascinating.
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Old 06-23-2012, 01:39 PM   #6
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Our goal is to experience the Kumbh Mela, we would like to go with friends but will go even if they do not. We have see various corners of the world including off islands of Fiji, been to Bali and Cambodia but we also wonder if that has prepared us for an encounter with this event in India.
All I can say is Good Luck (a big fat one). You will be HUGELY disappointed and it will certainly help you make worst possible impression of India. In Kumbh Mela, all kinds of folks take a dip in the river so I would be very very cautious to take a dip with them. IMO, India is the best example how a civilized and prosperous 'civilization' can go south.
Oh and watch your belongings.
Plus, you may not be able to enter in many temples due to religion restrictions.
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Old 06-23-2012, 01:43 PM   #7
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Wow, to each his or her own. Just the thought of crowds like that give me a panic attack! Yikes! Please be careful is all I can say. Stampedes and such are what I associate with religious pilgrimages like the one described in the linked article.
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Old 06-23-2012, 02:40 PM   #8
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I was in various parts of India in 1997. I found it the most challenging of the 25 countries I have visited. That was 15 years ago, mind you, but still I doubt the rural areas and slums have changed much. When people are starving, or worse yet their children are starving, they do desperate things. Many people were kind to us, but others treated us as less than human. It is the single country I know of, that I recommend visitors go on a tour or at least hire a well-recommended guide (I was traveling independently).
I'm a huge advocate of traveling the world, because I believe we are all one people and the more people that understand this, the better.
But I wonder if I were, say, Catholic (I'm not) and I was in St. Peter's in Rome seeing the Pope, and I'd spent my life savings for the once in a lifetime glorious experience, and a bunch of obviously foreign non-Catholic people were there, watching and pointing, how I would like it? This is a religious ceremony.
Obviously I would defer my advice to anyone who is from India or has spent more time there recently.
Just my 2 cents.
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Old 06-23-2012, 03:09 PM   #9
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I'm a believing Catholic who has been in St. Peter's many times with hoards of tourists talking, chewing gum, taking photos, etc. They do restrict the areas of prayer and Mass (the high altar or some side altars) to those who indicate they are there for worship, and St. Peter's is big enough that there can be profound silence in those areas.

I personally would love to see the Mela festival and would approach it with tourist-like observation, yes, but also with great respect. I am fascinated by any person's sincere religious belief and will always seek out such sites in countries I visit. Yet I'd never pretend I understood it fully or could analyze its impact on the believers.

You might enjoy Shusaku Endo's novel Deep River, one of my favorites. It is about a group of contemporary, thoroughly secular Japanese tourists who go to India and experience the Mela festival. Several turn away in disgust while others are drawn to it and find resonances in their own seeking spirits. One tourist who can't fathom the fact that there are believers even in today's world causes havoc when he insists of merely playing the voyeur photographer for his own gain. A good novel!
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Old 06-23-2012, 10:36 PM   #10
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Thank you so much for the book suggestion Marita40, we ordered the book and will get it next week. I loved your statement:"I am fascinated by any person's sincere religious belief and will always seek out such sites in countries I visit. Yet I'd never pretend I understood it fully or could analyze its impact on the believers. " I could not say it better.
We are Christians although I have spent 2 two week periods and many 3 day weekends in Buddhist retreats. These are very intensive but probably more orderly than what we expect the prospect to be in India. In addition to places like Cambodia we have been to Burning Man three times which would certainly be described as chaotic (in a wonderful way). AFAIK the Hindu people are very open to 'outsiders' observing and even participating in their events. I am sure there will be fundamentalist elements but the ones I know are more than tolerant, they are happy to have others present and interested.
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Old 06-24-2012, 05:16 PM   #11
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Do report back to us if you go to India, yakers!
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