Hollywood celebrities to participate in the Haridwar Kumbh Mela - biggest spiritual gathering on earth

Evening prayers at Har-Ki-Pairi Ghat in Haridwar

Image by Dirk Hartung via Flickr

Hollywood celebrities to partake in India’s Kumbh Mela, expecting 100 million pilgrims

Some Hollywood celebrities are expected to participate in the Haridwar Kumbh Mela, termed as biggest spiritual gathering on earth, in India during January-April next, according to reports.

Tour operators are keeping the celebrity names hush-hush. Many luxury camps with all-weather cottages will be set-up on the banks of holy river Ganga for international celebrities, business tycoons and other VVIPs for the Mela, which is expecting an influx of about 100 million people. Some American tour companies are advertising the tour for about $9,000 (airfares not included).

Rajan Zed, acclaimed Hindu statesman, has urged Hollywood celebrities to go to the Mela as pilgrims and not as tourists and in addition to immersing in holy Ganga waters, also explore the rich philosophy which Hinduism offers.

According to a belief, all sins/evils committed by the Mela pilgrims and their ancestors back to the 88th generation will be washed away forever by a dip in Ganga during these dates and that they will achieve salvation and emerge regenerated and healed. Its observance is believed to go back to ancient Vedic period and the legend of “Churning of the Ocean” is associated with it.

Kumbh Mela (pot-fete) will be held from January 14 (Makarsankranti) to April 28 (Vaisakh Aadhimaas Purnima) and includes 11 bathing dates in between, at Haridwar, where fast-flowing Ganga enters the plains from Himalaya. Held four times every twelve years and rotating among Allahabad, Nasik, Haridwar, and Ujjain (all in India); this Mela takes place when the planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and Sun enters Aries.

Haridwar Mela will be managed by Uttarakhand State Government, which will establish a temporary city called “Mela Kshetra” measuring 8X48 kilometers, and including 31 police stations and 36 fire stations to monitor the crowd inflow and pressure towards bathing ghats (wharfs), and will have its own administration and traffic rules.

Various sadhus (hermits) are also said to visit the Mela; including Nagas, who do not wear any clothes; Urdhwavahurs, who believe in putting the body through severe austerities; Parivajakas, who have taken a vow of silence; Shirshasins, who stand 24 hours and meditate for hours standing on their heads; Kalpvasis, who bathe thrice a day.

Rajan Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, has urged the Governments of India and Uttarakhand for making world-class arrangements for the Mela and for showing the incredible hospitality which was core value of Hinduism and India.  

Various films have documented Kumbh Mela, including “Invocation, Kumbha Mela” (2008, Fernando del Sol), “Short Cut to Nirvana: Kumbh Mela” (2004, Maurizio Benazzo, Nick Day), “Kumbh Mela: Songs of the River” (2004, Nadeem Uddin), "Kumbh Mela: The Greatest Show on Earth" (2001, Graham Day),  “Kumbha Mela” (1989, Michelangelo Antonioni); “Amrita Kumbher Sandhane” (1982, Dilip Roy).

India has been dubbed the planet’s most multidimensional country, offering an intoxicating cultural cocktail.

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