Maha Kumbha Mela 2013 – Where Chaos Meets Peace Part 2

By Rishabh Oberoi

Namaste Beautiful people!! Looking for spirituality or answers to the secret of immortality? You are at the right place, at the right time!

Welcome to the second part of our Journey to Maha Kumbha Mela 2013 – Where Chaos Meets Peace. If you guys remember the first part you know what we bunch of nomads are up to, but if you don’t or haven’t even read about Kumbha mela ever before please visit us here.

Here’s a small brief: On ‎February ‎8, 2013 we stepped on the holy land of Allahabad -also known as Prayag- after our 16 hrs journey on Indian classic train from Chandigarh. Me and my friends started this exciting journey filled with emotions and pain, excited about exploring and finding the answers of all the mysteries and secrets behind the World Largest Religious Gathering of People on the Bed of Sangam.

1) Entering the Kumbh Mela

On our way to the Mela (word in Sanskrit for Fair) we walked on the tracks of Prayag Railway station with all the new friends we made in the train and also some cool cows heading in front of us and showing us their ass! We keep on asking random people about the correct path towards our destination till we finally got a glimpse of MAHA KUMBHA MELA 2013 and the view was something like this:

Entering the Mela

View when entering the Kumbh Mela

I had never seen something like that before; A gigantic city of tents, temporary pontoon bridges, electricity posts, Sadhu’s (also known as holy man or wandering monks), Hippies, buses, carts, camels, cows, birds and dust spread in an area of 1936.56 hectares.

Some Statistics:

The whole Kumbh Mela in Prayag can be visualized as an island on the bed of Ganges: divided into 14 sectors spread in an area of 4,784 acres with every sector connected to each other through 18 temporary pontoon bridges all around the area of the Mela with 30,000 security personnel, 14 medical units, 22000 street lights, 150 km of temporary roads and 35,000 toilets.

This magical view was enough to inspire us to take this adventure to another level… Always in the company of this friendly cows! :P

Cows on the streets in India

Cows on the streets –  Typical of India

2) Inside the Mela; In search for the Land of Peace (First day in Kumbha)

Our first stay in Kumbha was in Rainbow camp, an OPEN SHARING CAMP founded by some European hippy travellers who are always travelling around the globe to experience this kind of spiritual and cultural events. The camp was set in one corner of the Kumbha Mela, away from all the chaos and chants from other camps, surrounded by cold white sand of the Ganges from one-side and hot dry land from the other.

Bridges connecting the Mela to the main land

Temporary Pontoon bridges connecting the Mela to the main land

The colorful spirit of the place and warm welcoming from people we had never met before, made us stay for our first night. It was one of the best experiences of my life! Keep reading and you’ll find out why ;) It was 2 pm when we arrived and we started to look for an available tent and look forward to the famous Sharing Dinner at night. There were too many things that took my breath away, but since is hard to put them in words, I’ll use some pictures to make you feel the way I did.

The Rainbow Camp

The Rainbow Camp

Girl meditating in the sunset

Girl meditating in the sunset

White Desert at one-side and Grassy rocky plain on other gives diversity to the place with a unique beauty.

White Desert

White Desert on one side

Grassy rocky plain

Grassy rocky plain  on the other

 People sitting together around a bonfire playing music; guitars, drums, horns… Meditating together under the setting sun, juggling the pins… It was such a tempting and captivating moment of life..! I was feeling very blessed to be there, amongst a bunch of random people who had just met and seemed to be deeply connected through an invisible love bond.

People sitting together around a bonfire

People sitting together around a bonfire

Funny fact: According to security of the camp, we, being Indians, were not allowed to enter the Rainbow Camp; it was meant to be just for foreigners, as it is believed they feel ‘unsafe’ with Indians around them. As I see it, this is a false and contradictory statement, because as I’ve been told by my international friends, they travel away from their countries and people to meet us (Indians), share and learn more about our rich culture and religion. It was unfair and we finally managed to sleep there, but left the second day.

3) Meeting the NAGA’S  (2nd day in Kumbha)

Waking up after such a peaceful night in a tent full of people from different part of the world was exciting; we took a shower in their self-made temporary shower system and were about to leave when we realized ILYES WAS MISSING! After a lot of calls and waiting, we decided to continue our journey praying for his wellbeing and hoping to meet him again on the way… we embarked then on an expedition to the Akhada’s, the camps of the Supreme Sadhus: THE NAGA’S. On our way we found again so many interesting things! Check them out:

 Women Public open toilet

Women’s public open toilet

 

Me enjoying some private time at the Kumbh Mela

Me enjoying some private time with millions of people in the Mela

Free food all the time at the Kumbh Mela

Free food all the time at the Kumbh Mela

 Funny Anecdote: I had a fight with a Sadhu… Who turned out to be a Naga Sadhu!

We were stopped at the entrance of one of the Akhadas that was JUST FOR FEMALES. But I spotted a Male Sadhu inside!! And started asking the guard “Is that a woman too??!!” I know! MY BAD!… My silly big mouth got me in trouble and I’ll describe the next scenes as if they were part of a Hindi censored movie: BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP, ………BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP…..BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEPPP!!!
After our long loving conversation with angry Naga Sadhu, we continued our search and FINALLY found a place in which we seemed to fit; a male Akhada, in which we met some really interesting people!

Let me introduce you to them: Maharishi Shiv Shankar BABA, the English Baba…
Maharishi Shiv Shankar BABA enjoying a chillum

Maharishi Shiv Shankar BABA enjoying a chillum

Random Naked Naga Sadhu

Random naked Naga Sadhu

After spending 2 hours with these enlightened people (that’s what they say about them), Maharishi Shankar Siv Baba totally changed my view regarding NAGA Sadhu’s, which was not very pretty due to my first encounter with one of them, whom turned out to be one of the most supreme Sadhu’s in the Mela and has the rights to enter the SANGAM first. They are meant to be the most Knowledgeable, powerful passionate, kind, loving and angry at the same time. He taught us some tips about living life to fullest and how he defines life in three simple words:

Chai, Chillum, Chapatti

That’s the MAHAMANTRA of every NAGA Sadhu that makes their life so easy and supreme!

After leaving the Akhada we planned to go back to Rainbow Camp in search of Ilyes, because if you guys remember he is still missing!!!.. Oh well, that’s a story I will tell you in the third and last part of this crazy story!

Where is ILYES?

Please come back to find out what happened to the Tunisian traveller.
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16 Responses to “Maha Kumbha Mela 2013 – Where Chaos Meets Peace Part 2”

  1. Shalu, so cool! You stepped onto the holy land on my birthday. Also, I am in the same country, although WAY to the south in Pondicherry right now.

    We have seen a few holy men here. They are serene, at peace, relaxed. I admire them and try to learn principles like detachment and such, to bring me happiness….at least most of the time.

    Great share!

    Ryan
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  2. Hi Shalu,

    Always love you shared these experiences with us :)

    I remember the earlier post on Kumbh and all that we come across. Not to miss the sadhus with chilams. I liked what you mentioned about the Naga sadhus, and yes, some of them are very knowledgeable though we really don’t know much about such sadhus till we go down to their level and learn from them.

    I do wish I make a trip sometime to see the Maha Kumbh too – especially when I know my dad’s been there so many times – it IS a real sight as I have seen the real pictures there too.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend :)
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  3. I. C. Daniel says:

    I remember the pic with “Random naked Naga Sadhu”, pretty cool this guy.

    See you next time Shalu, I’ll check what happened with Tunisian traveller.
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    • Rishabh Oberoi says:

      Thank You Daniel for your comment. I am grateful that you liked my travel article and still eXcited to know more about our journey in Kumbha. Be connected my friend and keep on exploring. :D LIVE.LOVE.LIFE

  4. Shalu,

    You have taken me to a fascinating journey! Many thanks! I enjoyed your trip and felt like I was there with you. The pictures are worth a thousand words.

    I can only imagine being in the Holy Land. The energy must have been fabulous!

    Donna
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    • Rishabh Oberoi says:

      Hello Dona!!
      I am really glad you loved my journey to Kumbha, I think even these pictures are not enough what me and my friends experienced there its somethng beyond words. Hope you got a glimpse of it.
      Keep following me here at Shalusharma guide to India!! LIVE.LOVE.LIFE

  5. Prasad Np says:

    Wonderful post and very nicely captured picture of one of the biggest festivals in India. Looking for more
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  6. Laura says:

    Chaos is usually part of every festival, peace and tranquility – not so much. Great post about a festival that I would like so much to attend some day.
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  7. Aqib Khan says:

    Awesome Poses Shalu!

    I really liked your all Poses which you have posted above! I saw like this Festival (Mela) On National Geographic Channel, Or In some Indian Movies. It’s really interested to sea :)
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  8. Hi your post s very nice, thanks for sharing this post, i will go to next kumbha mela….

  9. Thank you so much Everyone for your lovely comments.
    Sorry for not replying here earlier as I was busy in my new 9-6 job :P but still travelling is something that I will never forget and promise to keep on sharing my experience with you guys. I am sure some way or another my stories will help u guys to understand and feel the importance of travelling and exploring this beautiful world around us.
    So be in touch with me here at amazing Shalu Sharma-Guide to travel and get ready to experience WILD, CRAZY & SPIRITUAL journey in Incredible India.
    ps: If you have ever had a crazy experience in Indian trains or ever traveled to Kumbh in your life or may be Wanna travel in future feel free to talk and share your story with us here.

  10. Prerna says:

    How beautifully you captured the pictures. I remember going to Melas, long ago.
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