Have any of you who write a blog ever had that feeling that, damn; today I have nothing to write about? To be honest, I wouldn’t be that surprised if that has happened to you. For me who write about life in India as a Norwegian, I right now feel that struggle. And that’s maybe not that strange. How can you write about life in India when you live in Norway?
So, in order to keep this blog alive, I’m very much dependent on things to really happen in India. And I also have to do a lot more research in order to be able to write anything. So when one of my friends in Pune posted a link about Kumbh Mela on Facebook a few days ago, I decided that this could be a good topic to write about.
Kumbh Mela is probably the biggest religious festival in the world. It is hosted in the five holiest cities in the Hindu religion (Allahabad, Haridwar, Mathura, Nasik and off course the holiest of them all, Varanasi). By coincidence I visited Haridwar around New Year in 2009. There were no festival there that day, but we could see the enormous constructions that they had already started to prepare. We could also the huge camping area where all the pilgrims would put up their tents. You can see at the picture below all the banks (or gaths as they say in Hindi). During the Mela these will be completely swamped by pilgrims. It might be that I remember wrong, but I actually think that the open areas you see in the background are used for all or at least some of the millions of tents that will be there.
So what is this Kumbh Mela all about? Kumbh derives its name from the immortal Pot of Nectar, which the Demigods (Devtas) and Demons (Asuras) fought over, described in ancient Vedic scriptures known as the Puranas. It is these Vedic literatures that have stood the test of time, out of which the tradition has evolved into the one that the world now knows as The Kumbh Mela. Legend tells a tale from the bygone days of the universe when the demigods and the demons conjointly produced the nectar of immortality. The demigods, because cursed, were crippled of fear that eventually made them weak. The task being too sturdy for them alone, the demigods made a mutual agreement with the demons to complete it in full and share the nectar of immortality in half. It is said that the demigods and the demons assembled on the shore of the milk ocean that lies in the celestial region of the cosmos. And it began!
The next Mela is in Allahabad in January and February 2013. It sounds difficult for me to get there, but well, let’s see. Or at least maybe I can get someone who go there to help me put up a blog post from that event.
Talk to you soon!