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The Asian Reporter
Pacific Northwest News q Volume 25 Number 17 q September 7, 2015 q www.asianreporter.com
Hindu holy men lead
bath rituals in Indian river
Everest to climbers
heading to Indonesia
AUSPICIOUS ABLUTIONS. A Hindu woman from Rajasthan participates in a religious procession during the Kumbh Mela, or Pitcher Festival, in India. Hindus
believe that taking a dip in the waters of a holy river during the festival will cleanse them of their sins. The festival is held four times every 12 years. The Kumbh Mela
derives its name from a mythical fight over a pitcher of holy nectar. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
as they’d taken a dip in order to keep — elephants. Once the ash-covered sadhus
By Aftab Khan
crowds from growing. The last time the completed their ablutions, the public was
The Associated Press
festival was held in Nasik, scores of people then allowed into the water.
ASIK, India — Brass bands
died in a stampede triggered by a sadhu (a
Some people walked three miles from
played and people passed out fruit
Hindu holy man) who threw coins into the their temporary tents to the waterfront in
and cookies as hundreds of thou-
the west Indian city, where vehicle traffic
sands of Hindu holy men and believers
“During the last Kumbh, we watched was entirely blocked off and shops closed.
plunged into the Godavari River to wash
from a building, we could see only heads
The Kumbh Mela derives its name from
away their sins on the first “royal” day of
fight over a pitcher of holy nec-
bathing at one of the world’s largest
to Hindu mythology, gods
a furious battle over
The Kumbh Mela, or Pitcher Festival, is
the nectar they needed to achieve immor-
expected to draw millions over nearly two
tality. As one of the gods fled with a pitcher
months, though August 29 marked the in his neighborhood.
The bathing began with a crowd of of the nectar across the skies, it spilled on
first of several auspicious days for ritual
sadhus leading a procession to the water- four Indian towns — Allahabad, Nasik,
More than 15,000 police officers front. Some had arrived atop mini-trucks Ujjain, and Haridwar. The Kumbh Mela is
maintained heavy security, with some because police would not allow them to use organized four times every 12 years in
ushering bathers out of the water as soon the more traditional transportation mode those towns.
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