Westerners connect with their spiritual side at Maha Kumbh
Allahabad: Foreigners attending the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, are connecting with their spiritual side through yoga on the banks of the Ganges River.
Sitting cross-legged and breathing rhythmically, the pilgrims are reportedly enjoying moments of peace.
The yoga session was part of a week-long festival that also involved ritual bathing and meditation.
"A Divine Shakti (Power) Festival, which started on January 24, will conclude today. In the festival, people are connecting with God through yoga, meditation, bathing in the Sangam, and through seeking the blessings of ascetics," said Sadhvi Bhagwati Saraswati, one of the organizers.
Ma Prem Chandni, a pilgrim of Iranian origin, said that yoga has helped her draw away from leading a materialistic life, and that India is now a place where she regularly travels to in search of spiritual solace.
"I fell into the path of yoga in 2000, and immediately, I woke up to something within myself that made me see the world from a different place. From that time onwards, I have travelled and come to India many times, bringing people with me, discovering more and more," Chandni said.
Once every 12 years, tens of millions of pilgrims from India and abroad stream into Allahabad for the Maha Kumbh Mela at the point where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet with a third, mythical river – the Saraswati.
The festival has its roots in a Hindu tradition that says God Vishnu wrested from demons a golden pot containing the nectar of immortality.
In a 12-day fight for possession, four drops fell to earth, in the cities of Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. Every three years a Kumbh Mela is held at one of these spots, with the festival at Allahabad the holiest of them all.
More than 2,000 years old, the festival is also a meeting point for the Hindu sadhus or hermits, some who live in forests or Himalayan caves, and who belong to dozens of inter-related congregations.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Is Akhilesh Yadav overlooking Muslims as Mulayam Singh alleged?
- DNA: Why did Navjot Singh Sidhu call BJP 'Kaikeyi’, Congress ‘Kaushalya’?
- 38-year-old arrested for ‘raping’ minors in Delhi; assaulted over 600 girls
- My father wanted me to be a man of character: Navjot Singh Siddhu
- BJP announces 149 names in first list of candidates for UP elections
- Geeta Phogat comes to rescue of Zaira Wasim; hits out at trolls, asks actress not to apologise
- ‘Dangal’ star Zaira Wasim says I am not a role model, not proud of what I am doing
- Assembly Elections: BJP releases list of 149 candidates for Uttar Pradesh, 64 for Uttarakhand
- China's NSG stand is neither fair nor transparent, says Defence Expert
- Serial child rapist arrested in Delhi, says 'preyed on girls for sexual satisfaction, enjoyed it'