The Maha Kumbh Mela is an age old hindu festival where saints, monks, babas, sadhus and gurus gather together, on the banks of the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers, near Allahabad, India. It is a religious bathing festival of enormous size where pilgrims, and religious devotees will come from their remote dwellings and hiding places to gather for a historical moment. They come to experience the essence of their culture and to participate in the largest spiritual gathering of humanity, the Maha Kumba Mela.
The Festival is every year, however the main one is every 12 years, when the planets are in maximum alignment. Based on an ancient Hindu myth, and has been going on since at least the 5th century. It is located in central India, about 5 miles outside the town of Allahabad, on the dry riverbed of the Ganges River.
There are also kumbh mela festivals held in 3 other cities, 3 years apart in the 12 year cycle. But the Allahabad festival is the biggest one.
The festival is totally free in every sense. By simply showing up you may find a good place to stay and make many good friends, however always use caution, as you explore the Mela and become part of a spectacular event! It is always a good idea to have a place to stay already set up.
Respect the local customs...
Even though there are naked monks bathing in the river, we are guests there and are expected to be respectful. Before you take that awesome shot of the awesome monk, please ask, or at least try to ask... Take it easy in the crowds, we will all get there... and no horesplay either, lol. Respect the monks and sadhusin their ancient traditions. There will be no meat or liquor permitted in the mela area at any time!
Map of the mela grounds, 2013 in Allahabad.