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The sights and sounds of the Maha Kumbh Mela are infectious even for the not so religious: Shreya Dhoundial

Updated: January 14, 2013, 4:30 PM IST
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The sights and sounds of the Maha Kumbh Mela are infectious even for the not so religious: Shreya Dhoundial
More than 10 million pilgrims gather at Allahabad for the Maha Kumbh Mela.

More than 10 million pilgrims gather at Allahabad for the Maha Kumbh Mela. Shreya Dhoundial joined IBNLive readers from Allahabad and shared her experience.

Q. How is the Mela this time.. Asked by: Krishy

A. It is my first time at the Maha Kumbh & so far it's been an eye opener. When you see faith move a million people to one common destination even the non-believer is forced to bow the head in reverence to Maa Ganga. Krishy, if you have the time do drop by, its certainly an experience, you will remember for the rest of your lives.

Q. Government must see that devotees should not pollute water, and the purity of the water to be tested on a regular basis? Asked by: Prathap

A. Prathap, the pollution level in the Ganga is being monitored through the period of the Kumbh. Infact, the PMO is also keeping an eye on it. The result will be out once the Kumbh is over but there is no doubt that the pollution in the Ganga is worrying. Infact, the sadhus at the Kumbh have expressed their unhappiness over the quality of the water but I have to say that what I have seen of the pilgrims they are not using soap or washing their clothes hair. All they do is like lighting diyas & set them afloat. Prathap, their many rivers in many countries that are cleaner & more beautiful but they are not the Ganga, a river which people across its bank revere as maa.

Q. How is this Kumbh different from the one held in Nasik? Asked by: Rashid

A. Rashid, whats happening at Allahabad right now is poorna Kumbh. It comes every 12 years. Infact, the sadhus here tell me that the planetary alignments we are witnessing now have come after 146 years & therefore this Kumbh has appeared particularly auspicious time. Now you can dismiss all of this at mumbo jumbo Rashid, there are multipued of people who seem to believe it.

Q. What is different this time in mela, I mean who are there from other branches of spirituality practices? Asked by: Subodh Deshpande

A. I did saw Baba Ramdev, Uma Bharti but there was some resistance from the sadhu community on new age TV gurus like Asaram Bapu, Niramal Baba & Radhe Maa coming to the Maha Kumbh. If you don't know about Radhe Maa, you should google her, she has speared a huge controversy at the Maha Kumbh.

Q. How do you feel, when you are covering the story of Maha Kumbh Mela? Asked by: Shriprasad

A. I am not particularly religious but when you see the sights & sounds of the Kumbh are infectious so much so even I went to the Sangam to take a dip.

Q. How to book for stay arrangement? Asked by: Navtesh

A. Navtesh, if you have 12000 bucks to spare you can book a UP tourism luxury swiss cottage. Their are cheaper options available as well. Search the Kumbh website for it. Allahabad has some good hotels but during the Shahi snaan day they will be booked. My suggestion is come during the non-snaan period. The Kumbh will continue till 10th of March.

Q. It is really unfortunate that there is resistance to new age TV gurus, but what is the reason behind it I mean is it social, ethical or religious, it can not be spiritual. Asked by: Subodh Deshpande

A. There logic is that these new age spirituality gurus are not religious leaders. They are more of business men. Asaram bapu has a camp here. But his posters were torn off from vicinity.

Q. Why is it so that Naga sadhus are given first preference to take a dip in Holy Ganges? Is it a tradition? Asked by: Dipsi

A. Yes, this is a tradition that is continued from many many years now. So, there are 13 big akharas that come in one by one to take a dip. There is entire area that is cordoned off just for them. The Naga Sahus are the first citizens of the Kumbh. They consider themselves as warriors of the gods.

Q. Which different stalls of sadhus you have visited and which you liked most! Asked by: Subodh Deshpande

A. My favourite is the Juna Akhara. I have met many interesting characters here, the Kutta Baba, Haath Khareshwar Baba-who has held his right hand up for the last 12 years & the Khareshwar Baba who has been standing for the last 9 years. They say its not a stunt but an extreme form of Hatyog.

First Published: January 14, 2013, 4:30 PM IST
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