Day 5: Varanasi - Allahabad
Drive west to Allahabad (125 km/2-3 hrs) to join in one of the largest gatherings of humanity held every 12 years at the “Sangam”, the confluence of the 3 holiest rivers in India, the Ganges, the Yamuna and the unseen Saraswati.
Kumbh Mela derives its name from the immortal Pot of Nectar described in ancient Hindu mythology. It literally means festival of the pot or a festival celebrating the appearance of the pot of nectar after the gods churned the ocean for 1000 years. When Asuras (demons), tried to forcibly take the pot, four Gods fought with them for 12 days and nights, equivalent to 12 human years. During this battle, the Gods hid the pot in four places: Nashik, Prayag (Allahabad), Ujjain and Haridwar. Now the Kumbh Mela is held in a rotation of these cities every 3 years.
During the festival, Hindus consider Allahabad as India's religious capital and more than ten million people dip into the holy Ganga, in order to purify body, mind and soul and wash off their sins. On the eve of such a bathing day, the mela site vibrates in hectic religious fever of pilgrims mingling with the sadhus, or wandering monks, belonging to dozens of Hindu sects.
The experience of staying in the heart of the Mela is unparalleled – you can wander openly from camp to camp taking in devotional singing, religious discussions, processions and mass feedings of simple, healthy food. Not to mention the holy bathing and activity by the river.
On arrival, settle into your private camp with time to relax or wander before a briefing on the days ahead.