The Nishan - the spears of the Akhara are here - see the rush of the photographers lined up in front.
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And the signal to move forward is given - photographers run out of the way
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The Mahants of the akhara
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Flower being showered by the Prashashan
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Finally the Mahant in the front to lead the procession - Narendra Giri Ji Maharaj - Secretary of Shri Panchayati Akhara Niranjani, of Baghambari Peethadheeshwar at Prayagraj, All India Akhara Parishad President.
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Shouting HAR HAR MAHADEV they move towards the sangam - all the public too chants with them
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Its a big mix up of people young old Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, foreigners - many of them are practicing Hindus but mostly Christians who have come to just experience the culture. And they are from all over the world - even the Masai tribe people are also seen though they did not come this year. Muslims are also seen though you cannot make them out unless you hear their names or if their women are around.
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The one carrying the stand for the camera was a cool guy - he used to sit on top of the barricading with his tripod on the ground and his small camera on the huge stand and get a clear height gain of nearly 8 feet.
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Finally at 6.55 am the sun appears on the horizon on the Jhunsi side.
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Scary - is he not - Its really scary when you see them - 100s of them like this at 4 in the morning moving shoulder to shoulder shouting
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The Chimta a huge and a heavy one
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He loves his matted - tress - after all he has grown it from the day he became the Naga baba.
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Thank you for the very useful information, this happened with me last time also that I visited the Kumbh only a few days before it's culmination and there was absolutely nothing left to see on the other side of the Ganga. Since my health is also not in a perfect shape I might cancel the visit if the mela is winding up.
Please do update about the kalagram and other places (parade ground etc. ), if it's worth coming all the way.
 
Thank you for the very useful information, this happened with me last time also that I visited the Kumbh only a few days before it's culmination and there was absolutely nothing left to see on the other side of the Ganga. Since my health is also not in a perfect shape I might cancel the visit if the mela is winding up.
Please do update about the kalagram and other places (parade ground etc. ), if it's worth coming all the way.

My advice is would be to look after your health - you can come next year during the january month to witness the pulse of the mela - though it will not be a kumbh but Magh mela instead but its same though a scaled down version. Mela is winding up - there is nothing much on the jhunsi side - its very hot in the open and very dusty too.

And remember dont come in a rush - be thoda relaxed - book a tent for a few days at the UP Tourism camp - relax and see the mela and then only you will enjoy it.
 
Dressing up ritual
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I remember during the last kumbh exactly at this time 6 in the morning The babas had taken their holy dip and were performing their ritual of babhoot smearing - the sky was absolute clear and bright the air was also dust free. I was taking photographs - when the first rays of sun fell on the bathing area and suddenly within minutes a thick fog engulfed the whole area and visibility became only 6-7 feet. But that was in Jan month and it was much colder then. Surprisingly this year through out the winters not a day of fog was seen.

Posting a part of one of the above photographs --- notice the black helmeted persons - these are the UP ATS Boys and Girls - all in their early 20s slim - short and very agile and smart - all in dull black clothing from helmet to shoes - AK 47/56, pistol, knife, headphones and mike and black goggles - riding black pulsers. Mostly moving on 6 motorcycles with pillions. ATS girls also riding bikes like experts. Watching them move left me spelbound.
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These two images below are not mine - taken from the web just to showcase the preparation for the mela.
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Rambo, this set of information is truly amazing, also the ATS part is very informative. The last mela was very badly managed if compared to this one, even electricity supply was supplied from dusk to dawn only, no life jackets for pilgrims etc.
I finally cancelled my tickets with a heavy heart yesterday, hopefully I shall be there in the future sometime. There was no point in going after you told me things were getting wound up. Next time hopefully I'll be able to plan in a better way.
 
One of the many Mahants with his disciples - My observations - just a observation - mostly the disciples are gujaratis in all the akharas - just a observation - followed by marathis --- this I say as mostly I heard gujarati and marathi. While the crowd can be from any place in India but in the akhara I mostly hear people speaking gujarati.
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As you seen - a lady from African, European and Asian origin - its a congregation of humanity from the whole earth - Female naga babas.
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Just catching up - left behind
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Lots of female babas
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Thats Swami Avdheshanand - the one waving. He has lost the charm and shine from his face - Had seen him in the previous two kumbhs and was just amazed to see the charm grace shine on his face - it was really mesmerising .
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This man - a nihang sikh - is also a regular feature of Kumbh - he says his head gear is of 35 kg
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These are the Raths of the mahants and swamis - Tractor trolley decorated with flowers and Large asaans
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Here comes the Kinnar akhara Led by Acharya Mahamandaleshwar Lakshmi Narayanan Tripathi, the chief of the Kinnar Akahara
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Not many were interested in the Kinnar Akhara - the path, the followers were missing - may be fear
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The peaceful times in the mela - this is near the sangam nose where all the activities take place during the bathing days
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Thats Jhunsi side
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Preparing for Ganga Aarti
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The Part of the Mela on the Naini side - the Arail Ghat - The Kala Gram, Sanskriti Gram, the Vedic Tent City

This is the Sagar manthan and inside the structure they had put up galleries depicting the various stages of the development of Bharat.
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The Terracotta age
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The bronze age - exhibits of the Harrapa civilization
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The development of paper and coth
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The Vedic age
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Vaidic gurukul
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The holy books and epics being written by the rishis
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This is the Ram Sita and Lakshman during the exile and Ravan taking bhiksha from sita
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Mahabharat - Krishna at his pranks
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Krishna and Sheshnag
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Krishna leela
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Even the great saints of the past had their stall
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Lakshmibai
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Folk artists performing - This is the Kalagram - the stage was big and in the open - the evenings were so pleasant, Behind that wall the tents for the folk artists and then beyond that was Ganga flowing towards Varanasi
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Kalagram - the stage on the right side with chairs for the spectators - and all around were stalls from various states. Right from Nagaland to Kanyakumari to Rajasthan to Kashmir - all handicraft stalls were present. And usually handicrafts items are costly but this time the they were looking as UP govt was paying them 30K for just putting up the stalls so they were selling at very low profits.
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Sanskrit Kumbh --- this section had a lots of text material so not much people would stay there
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