VOL 2: History, Mythology, Belief

How did it all begin? An event of this magnitude makes you wonder. There is the age-old myth and then there is the logic that defies it. A guru, a mahant, a naga baba, a Sanskrit professor and a professor of Ancient History, amongst others, voice their views.

The mythology and stories surrounding the origin of the Kumbh Mela is the basic premise of History, Mythology, Belief but it also speaks of those that make it what it is. A gathering open to all, the Mela sees an eclectic mix of people and groups. While the pilgrims, akhadas and naga babas are its prevalent identity, children, birds and animals also find their way into the landscape of the Kumbh.

Contents of History, Mythology, Belief

  • Immortality transcends ancient skies (Poetic Verse)
  • History, Mythology, Belief (Introduction)
  • Of sadhu and satsang (Character Story)
  • Sadhvi Narayan Kantaji (Insight)
  • Kalyandasji Maharaj (Interview)
  • Covenant of identity (Photo Story)
  • Mahant Maheshwardasji (Interview)
  • Vehicles of divinity (Photo Story)
  • Veracious custodians (Photo story)
  • Digambar Darshan Guru (Interview)
  • Naga at a pontoon (Insight)
  • The chronicler of the Kumbh (Character Story)
  • Faith portrayals (Reflection)
  • Crowning glory (Photo Story)
  • The avatar of childhood (Photo Story)
  • 10.01.2013 (Diary Note)

Excerpts From The Book: Insights

Excerpts From The Book: Covenant of identity / photo story

The Mela scape is dotted with bright-coloured flags. Licking the wind, these flaming pieces of fabric stand in affirmation of the identities of the different akhadas and shivirs at the Mela. Bearing the names, pictures and insignia of the respective camps, they lead in a procession and direct in a crowd, differentiating and unifying, between and within the groups.

After the ceremonial entry into the Mela grounds the hoisting of each camp flag establishes the presence of the akhada and declares the auspicious beginning of the Mela. In fluttering co-existence, these sovereigns occupy spiritual territory over the area demarcated to each akhada, making a covenant of identity with people looking up in reverence.