Visiting the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj? These ideal travel tips will help you plan your journey better and gain some useful insights into the Kumbh Mela before you actually end up there.
- Be Ready To Deal With A Big Crowd: Kumbh Mela is one of the world’s most crowded religious fair, where people from not only across India participating in it, but from across the world. Speaking of some figures, this 2019 Prayagraj Kumbh Mela saw more than 10 million people in one day. And this was in a city that has a population of just a little more than 100,000 people. So imagine how crazy the entire procession can be.
- Be Prepared About The Cultural Shock: Kumbh Mela is where not only regular people but Indian Sadhus (or saints) gather together, depicting some of Hinduism’s overwhelming realities. Most of these sadhus (known as Naga Sadhus) are the followers of Shiva (the god of destruction) who wear no clothes and put ash all over their body. They perform astonishing religious practices during the Kumbh Mela. So if you’re someone who is a total stranger to the Hindu culture, be prepared to see some unusually intense religious events.
- Plan Your Journey In Advance: Since Kumbh Mela is the busiest pilgrimage that happens in India, it is always a good idea to plan your journey – from transportation to booking a hotel room – a few days in advance. During the entire time of Kumbh Mela trains and buses go full. Hotels, moreover run fully-booked and overpriced.
- Visit During One of the Auspicious Days: Though Kumbh Mela is a long event that generally lasts for over 2 months, there are only a few auspicious bathing days. During these days, all Naga Babas perform a special ritual and come together as one force to take a bath – and it’s called Shahi Snan. Visiting the Kumbh Mela during one of these Shahi Snans is always a great sight. Speaking of Prayagraj Kumbh Mela, there are three Shahi Snans: Makar Sankranti on 15 January, Mauni Amavasya on 04 February and Basant Panchami on 10 February. Other auspicious days during Kumbh Mela 2019 include Paush Purnima on 21 January, Maghi Purnima on 19 February and Mahashivratri on 04 March.
- Visit For At Least Two Days: Though most people visiting the Kumbh Mela do only a day tour – they come in the morning, take a dip, and return – I suggest people to visit for at least one night and two days, because the Kumbh Mela, in reality, has more to offer than just the bath. Visit a satsang, attend spiritual talks and be a part of local games. Kumbh is moreover a great venue to meet Naga Babas. Just visit any Akhada and meet them.
- As A Woman Traveller, Be A Little Thoughful: As a woman visiting the Kumbh, it is advised to be watchful of what you wear. Always cover your shoulders and knees. Also, unlike men, it is better to not just go into any Naga baba akhara and start talking to men, or click pictures, unless you take permission from them in advance. These men are celibates and the distraction of women is forbidden.
- Don’t Return Without Bathing: I know the water at the river may seem a little dirty, with dozens of naked bodies cleaning themselves around you, I will still suggest you take a dip. Bathing in the auspicious river during the Kumbh Mela is considered as one of the most rigteous things to do in Hinduism. And even if you’re not very religious, the feeling is always so great once you actually do it. So just join the crowd and enjoy the moment. You won’t regret it!
Attending the Kumbh Mela is actually a great experience in itself. Where most people visit it with a spiritual and religious inclination, even if you’re not very religious, the entire idea of attending Kumbh is exciting. Check out these amazing Kumbh Mela Pictures that I clicked during my recent visit to the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj and you will get the idea. If nothing else, I am sure these pictures will make you want to visit the Kumbh.