The Kumbh Mela 2001 will be the greatest gathering of human beings in recorded history.
Come January 2001, over 25 million Hindus from across the world will gather on the sandy banks of
the Ganges, just outside the North Indian town of Allahabad.
Their mission will be to celebrate a religious festival that is at least 2,000 years old,
the Maha Kumbh Mela - the Great Fair of the Vessel of Immortality. Their goal will be to
bathe in the waters of the Ganges, which the faithful believe will cleanse their souls and lead
them to salvation.
Kumbh Melas, in accordance with astrological cycles, take place every twelve years, but the Kumbh
Mela 2001 has a special significance as it falls at a particularly auspicious alignment of the
planets, occurring only once every 144 years. Hindus believe that this alignment radiates cosmic
energy and transforms the waters of the Ganges into immortality-inducing nectar ö nectar that first
fell to Earth at the time of creation, according to Hindu Mythology.
For over six months, the Indian authorities have been preparing for this awesome event. With a
budget of 1.35 billion rupees, they are building a city larger than London on a bare, flat sand
bank. It will feed, house and entertain millions and then after 7 weeks disappear as fast as
it was built.
Pilgrims of every origin and background will gather for this Kumbh Mela, from the Sadhu
holy men who have spent the last twelve years living in tiny Himalayan caves to Rupee billionaires
from the business districts of Bombay.
The millions of pilgrims are there not only to bathe but
also to watch, and sometimes participate in, grand processions, religious conferences, and
initiation ceremonies, while worshipping at the hundreds of shrines at the site and getting
blessings from the tens of thousands of holy men.
This will be the greatest festival on earth.