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Kumbh Mela - Haridwar - Akhada

Not even once in my dreams I had thought I would go to Kumbh Mela. But this time I did! To my surprise I did.

It was amazingly organised. I was pleasantly surprised with that. The town was clean. Healthily clean. There were clear signs for parking, toilets and every such thing. Police were around and their presence seemed to be enough to keep the peace.

I caught a Rixa guy and asked him to take me to the Akhadas of Sadhus. Akhada is the community of the sadhus. There are hundreds of such all over the country. Millions of Sadhus come to the Kumbh Mela every time. They have specific dates of taking a dip in the Ganga. Shahi Snaaan it is called. [Literally translated Royal Bath.] Before that, the almost a new village is constructed for these sadhus to stay. There are huge plan lands on the banks of Ganga and gigantic size tents are erected few days before the arrival of the Sadhus. The chief of the Akhada is the most important and sacred person. On each of the Akhada tent about 100 feet tall photo of the chief Sadhu is showcasing. This helps his followers to find their accommodation area easily I guess.

The day the Shahi Snaan [Royal Bath] is to take place, these sadhus go to the specific spot with a huge procession. It is reported that on each of the Shahi Snaan day approximately 25 Lakh [2.5 million] sadhus take a dip in the Ganga River. Totally in 3 months over 1 crore = 110 million people visit the Kumbh Mela.

I went around the tents of these Sadhus. Many main Aakhadas were yet to come and the preparations were going on in full speed. There were some Aakhadas ready and many sadhus were there. Some sleeping, some talking, some smoking, some busy in some rituals. The main sadhu was sitting in a special different, small tent and there were couple of others talking to him. Looked like they were talking something important.

I roamed around clicked many pictures and returned to Rishikesh, where I was staying.



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