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Ardh Kumbha Mela 2007

His Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami MaheshwaranandjiHis Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandji

Kumbh Mela - the largest spiritual gathering in the world. According to a legend, the "nectar of immortality" was spilled four times on the face of the Earth from a pitcher (kumbh) argued over by Gods and Demons in a battle that lasted for 12 days in the ancient Vedic times. These four locations are now venues of the festival (mela) which takes place every three years at one of the nectar-spots (Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain in Nasik).

This year's festival is the Ardh (half) Kumbha Mela, but despite of its name it still drew millions of spiritual seekers to the confluence of Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers. Hindu belief has it that one’s sins are purified by a dip in these holy waters, thereby liberating him. This is a time of special astrological constellations and the most auspicious bathing times are known as shahi snans or "royal baths" (January 14 - Makar Sankranti, January 19 - Mouni Amavasya, January 23 - Vasant Panchami and February 15 – Mahashivaratri).

The privilege of leading such baths goes to Akharas (Hindu monastic orders) and their Mahamandaleshwars (akhara leaders). The Maha Nirvani Akhara to which His Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandaji belongs as one of its leaders led the first of the royal baths and His Holiness Swamiji took a holy dip accompanied by his western devotees.

As over 90 million pilgrims are expected to visit Mela during January 3 until February 16, the event is also a huge logistic and security challenge and organizers along with Indian government have made tremendous efforts to provide adequate transportation, lodging, food and safety.

 


Indian spiritual leaders His Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandji and His Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Swami Niranjanandji take a holy dip at the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati on the Makar Sankranti festival, an auspicious day during the 45-day long Ardh Kumbh Mela festival, in Allahabad, India, Sunday, Jan. 14. ((c) Associated Press)Indian spiritual leader His Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandji takes a holy dip along with his western devotees at the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati on the Makar Sankranti festival, an auspicious day during the 45-day long Ardh Kumbh Mela festival, in Allahabad, India, Sunday, Jan. 14. ((c) Associated Press)Indian spiritual leader His Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami Maheshwaranandji takes a holy dip along with his western devotees at the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati on the Makar Sankranti festival, an auspicious day during the 45-day long Ardh Kumbh Mela festival, in Allahabad, India, Sunday, Jan. 14. ((c) Associated Press)Devotees from Yoga in Daily Life participate in a procession on the banks of the River Ganges during the Ardh Kumbha Mela in Allahabad, India, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007 ((c) Associated Press)

 


Procession of Yoga in Daily Life group with His Holiness Swamiji in front giving blessingsBandhara (banquet) - a community feast on the banks of the Ganges River, during the Ardh Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India, Saturday, Jan. 13, 2007 ((c) Associated Press)

 


Sannyas Diksha in 'Yoga in Daily Life' campSannyas Diksha in 'Yoga in Daily Life' campSunset at the Ardh Kumbha Mela

 


The MelaThe Mela'Yoga in Daily Life' camp

 


His Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Paramhans Swami MaheshwaranandjiHis Holiness Mahamandaleshwar Swami Niranjanandji from Maha Nirvani AkharaHis Holiness Swamiji, surrounded by devotees, takes a holy dip in Ganges

 


More Kumbha Mela photos...

NDTV story on YIDL participation at the Kumbha Mela

 

 

 

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