2013 Highlights: Being at the World’s Largest Festival
December 18, 2013 • Photography & Travel
When a festival happens once every 12 years you don’t want to miss it. The Maha Kumbh Mela festival is the world’s largest festival and took place this time in Allahabad, North India. The last time this festival took place I was a monk in a monastery in Hawaii and therefore could not leave to attend it. So, when it came around again this year in February I did what it took to go to it. That said, every 3 years a smaller version of the Kumbh Mela festival takes place in India. When I say smaller an estimated 5 to 6 million people only attend on the main bathing and the overall attendance over the course of the festival is 30 to 40 million usually.
The festival goes on for 55-days and an estimated 110 million pilgrims made the journey to the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers to bathe at this scared site this year. I was determined, despite everyone I know telling me not to, to go on the main bathing day of this festival which took place on February 10th, 2013. “Why did they say not to go?” you ask. Well, because on this day over 30 million people turned up at this one area. I had 11 other brave souls accompany me on this journey as well, part of a spiritual adventure through North India that I had put together.
On February 10th, I waded in the cold Ganges river at 3:30am then walked for 11 hours straight with millions of pilgrims with no room to fit an ant between me and the next person. An experience that taught me so much about faith, patience, tolerance, letting go, humanity and the ability we have to live with one another when there is a need to. A life-changing experience for sure and one I’ll remember for a long time to come!
Additional photos of the Kumbha Mela festival at this link.
Today I thought I’d share some images that I photographed of smiling and laughing children during my many travels to India. These pictures remind me of my favorite quote from my guru, Gurudeva Subramuniyaswami: “Life is meant to be lived joyously.” Whether you are going through a challenging time...Read More
It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of my photography posts. As many of you know I am passionate about photography. During a recent trip to South India in December last year I drove past a small village in Tamil Nadu, South India, where it looked like the main industry here was making…Read More
I recently posted about giving a keynote at the 2017 World Knowledge Forum in Seoul, South Korea. Once that event concluded, I spent a couple extra days exploring this wonderful city. I’m particularly drawn to historical sites and spent most of my time exploring a few of the main palaces wi...Read More
I hope to share with you, once or twice a month, one of my passions — photography. I believe it’s so important to make time in life for what you love and who you love. I love photography and always do my best to integrate it into my travels around the world. I’m currently in&hel...Read More