Every four years, the world’s largest festival, Kumbh Ka Mela takes place on the banks of the Ganga River in India. Over 50 million people are expected to attend, and in 2010 the Kumbh Ka Mela will be hosted by the small city of Haridwar from January 14 to April 28. Millions of devout Hindus visit the holy city, and believe that immersing themselves in the Ganga during this period will absolve them of all their sins & transgressions and grant them salvation.
Kumbh Mela is based on an ancient Hindu story of a war between Devtas (Gods) and Asuras (Demons) over the kumbh (pot) of amrita, the elixir of immortality. The struggle lasted 12 days and 12 nights during which drops of the amrita elixir fell on four earthly sites; Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. The rivers at these sites are believed to turn back into amrita at the climactic moment of each Mela. Pilgrims travel to these sites for the chance to bathe in the amrita to purify their body and soul. The Last Kumbh Mela at Haridwar was in 1998.
This festival has a huge draw for tourists who want to watch this prayer ceremony that lasts for months. Making the financial and time commitment to see a festival like this is most certainly rewarding, but when you’re traveling through India during a time where the population swells so rapidly, (more than 4 million people (each day) are expected to pour into this small city) it can be dangerous. This influx will overload the limited infrastructure of Haridwar and could compromise safety.
Especially if you’ve never traveled to India, Where in the World recommends looking into booking trips with travel agencies directly based in India, like Easy Tours of India. They’ll make sure you are safe the whole time, and will provide luxury accommodations and trip features to make sure your festival experience is the best avaliable. For more information, or if you are interested in booking a trip visit here for travel agent contact information.