for the independent traveler by independent travelers

Maha Kumbh Nagar – megapolis not marked on any map

Posted by dan on November 13, 2010

Naga Sadhu on horse back

Naga Sadhu on horse back

Happens only once every 144 years in India, the Maha Kumbh Mela is the biggest gathering of people anywhere in the world. In 2001 up to 100 million people flocked to the Hindu festival located between Varanasi and Ahmedabad where three holy rivers – the Yamuna, Ganges and the mythical Saraswati River – merge. On any given days there were at least 10 million people present, with around 20 million people on peak days. With its sprawling tent city (Maha Kumbh Nagar) and temporary citizens who live there for a month this makes it one of the biggest cities in the world – except that at any other time you wouldn’t find there anything.

“The normal Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 4 years, the Ardh (half) Kumbh Mella is celebrated every six years at Haridwar and Prayag, the Purna (complete) Kumbh takes place every twelve years, at four places (Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik). The Maha (great) Kumbh Mela which comes after 12 ‘Purna Kumbh Melas’, or 144 years, is held at Allahabad.

The last Ardh Kumbh Mela was held over a period of 45 days beginning in January 2007, more than 70 million Hindu pilgrims took part in the Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag, and on January 15, the most auspicious day of the festival of Makar Sankranti, more than 5 million participated.

The previous Maha Kumbh Mela, held in 2001, was attended by around 60 million people, making it at the time the largest gathering anywhere in the world in recorded history.”



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