Millions begin to gather at the Ganges River

January 14, 2010

January 14, 2010

Kumbh Mela ("The Pitcher Festival"), arguably the largest religious gathering in the world, begins today in Hardiwar, India. Reports indicate more than 10 million devotees gathered during the '04 Kumbh at Hardiwar and numbers will surely reach that level again this year (60 million gathered in '01). The Kumbh Mela gathering is part of a sacred Hindu pilgrimage that occurs every 12 years, and it regularly rotates amongst four locations: Haridwar, Ujjain, Allahabad, and Nasik, India. Hindus believe that as the sun, the moon, and the planet Jupiter reach a particular alignment every four years the waters of the Ganges River turn into a healing nectar. It is said that believers who take a sacred bath in the divine water of Ganga will thereby eliminate all their past sins and be granted liberation/salvation. Here is a link to the official government website for Kumbh Mela Haridwar 2010.

And here is a brief video, released 2 days ago, showing interviews with devotees currently in Hardiwar.

Of course a gathering of 10-60 million people in one location, at one time, puts great pressure on the environment. Consequently, the Indian government is taking new "green" steps to ensure a safe and health 2010 pilgrimage. Here is a recent CNN article addressing the matter - "Hindus urged to consider environment as they wash away sins."

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