The Kumbh Mela festival in India

The Kumbh Mela Festival is a fascinating even which occurs in different parts of India on a 12 year rotating basis.

After our last tour through the Golden Triangle one of our travellers headed north to Haridwar to discover more about this holy pilgrimage.

Here’s 7 quick facts to explain more about the Kumbh Mela festival…


1.The Kumbh Mela occours every 12 years at a particular venue on rotation.


2. The four destinations which host the Kumb Mela are Haridwar, Allahabad, Nashik and Ujjain


3.With between 75-130 million (a rough estimate) people attending the festival over its run it has rightly earned the name of the worlds biggest meeting of pilgrims for a religious purpose.


4. The name was born from a Hindu Myth. Lord Vishnu who was carrying the liquid of immortality in a kind of pot (referred to as a Kumbha) spilt this liquid in foud different locations which were to become the holy sites where the celebrations occur today.


5. People will travel huge distances to attend throughout the festival with the key date attracting the single largest crowd often around 30 million.


6. The main purpose of the visits and the celebrations is to bathe in the holy waters which will wash away sin and for many they believe cure illness.




7, The most celebrated of the bathers are the naked holy men (naga sadhu) who will bathe naked to show their separation from the material world.


‘My visit to Haridwar during this incredible celebration was a truly unique experience. Bar a handful of other western tourists I felt completely swept away with the emotions, sounds and smells of the celebrations. The streets were over flowing with people as were the rivers once the celebration commenced.

Given many of the people travel to this festival to find cures for illness or healing as well as spiritual reasons I found the festival quite an emotional experience and although I thoroughly enjoyed understanding the culture and purpose of the ritual from a local perspective I believe some other tourists there found it rather uncomfortable and challenging.

If you do find yourself in India during one of these celebrations I would urge you to consider visiting for a couple of days to witness such a grand gathering in such a powerful way’ – Dan 


Got you excited to discover India through the eyes of locals? Take a look at our 2017 small group tour departures here!