At the Kumbh Mela this year. many people were seen making a beeline for the Juna akhara, an organisation of sadhus, and posing with the Nagas who are naked men with ash smeared on their body and long dreadlocks.
The style of the sadhus and their ability to attract people has made the Kumbh Mela more unique and colourful this time.
- One of the sadhus was seen carrying 70-kg weight on his body, including his crown and hundreds of ‘rudrakhsh mala’
- A visitor was quoted saying that the Kumbh Mela was called “the greatest show on earth” for a reason
- The Kumbh Mela will come to a close on Maha Shivratri, March 4
The 2019 Kumbh Mela, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world commenced on January 15 on Makar Sankranti – considered as the most auspicious day in the Hindu calendar.
Day one was for ascetics from various akharas and those who braved the surging crowds; day two on Wednesday (January 16) was for hundreds of thousands of people, including tourists, who lined up along the Sangam for a purifying dip.
A visitor was quoted saying that the Kumbh Mela was called “the greatest show on earth” for a reason.
Like always, many people were seen making a beeline for the Juna akhara, an organisation of sadhus, and posing with the Nagas who are naked men with ash smeared on their body and long dreadlocks.
However, it is the sadhus in different attires which are catching the eyes of the devotees, especially the foreign tourists, at the mela.
Their style and ability to attract people has made the religious event more unique and colourful this time.
One of the sadhus at the Kumbh Mela, Mahant Shakti Giri of the Juna akhada, sat with his mighty head gear and flashy sunglasses.
Giri was seen carrying 70-kg weight on his body, including his crown and hundreds of ‘rudrakhsh mala’. Sitting in style, and flaunting the sunglasses, his attire attracted hundreds of foreign tourists on the second day of the Kumbh.
Speaking to India Today, the sadhu, who is also famously known as ‘rudrakhsha waale baba’, said, ” The crown which I am wearing weighs more than 22 kg and the other 48 kg is due to hundreds of rudhray seed chains on my body. This time the Kumbh is unique and more elaborate arrangements have been made for everyone.”
Using animals as props is another way of attracting the attention of the crowd. At the Kumbh Mela, another seer was seen entertaining the crowd with a pigeon in his hand. The sadhu, who was able to attract hundreds of visitors, has been given the tittle of ‘kabutar baba’.
The Kumbh Mela is a spectacle not only for the Indians but also foreign tourists who come from all over the world to witness the event.
Many foreign tourists, who were seen in traditional attires, had come to these akhadas to connect better with seers and other people.
Geanopierre from Paris, who is known as Hari Pyare in India, is also attending the Kumbh Mela for the second time. He believes that no other gathering can become such a strong message of faith.
“I have been learning Yoga in Rishikesh for past six months and people there call me ‘Hari Pyare’. I attended the last Maha Kumbh as well.”
( Geanopierre in traditional clothes at Kumbh in Prayagraj)
Commenting on the different attires and shows put on by the sadhus at the Kumbh Mela, Geanopierre said, “The atmosphere here is incredible and the sadhus in different attires are definitely stealing the show.”
Sadhus of 13 akharas took out a procession went for ‘shahi snan” with thousands of supporters added a lot of colour to the congregation.
The saints in different colourful attire were on their rath while the followers of their akharas were marching majestically, dancing and humming devotional songs, all the way to the confluence (the meeting point of river Ganga, river Yamuna and mythical Saraswati).
One also witnessed a decent number number of people visiting the Kalpavasis side of the mela, which is established on the other side of the main Triveni Sangam this time.
Kalpavasis, who are pilgrims following the same regimen like sadhus during the course of the mela, have been an essential part of the Prayag Kumbh since time immemorial.
The Kumbh Mela will come to a close on Maha Shivratri, March 4.