Kumbh 2019: Unconventional sadhus attract attention of devotees, foreigners

Updated:1 month, 1 week ago IST

Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh), Jan 15 (ANI): Nude bodies smeared in ash covered only with rosary beads, flowers, and sometimes an animal skin printed loincloth, are becoming one of the most popular sights at Kumbh Mela. Prayagraj is preparing to host world’s largest gathering of humanity – the Kumbh Mela. The hermits are gathered here in monastic tents, wherein they are quite often joined by devotees, from all over the world. Some visit the chillum smoking holy men for spiritual guidance while some are there simply to witness an unconventional experience. In the cluster is a monk who has kept his arm up, tied with a piece of cloth, for seven years now. The holy man was seen sitting in his spiritual league called ‘akhada’, arm suspended from the tent ceiling with a rope accommodating long, dirty nails. “I have been doing this ‘tapasya’ for world peace”, he said. ‘Tapasya’, the rigorously disciplined ritualistic prayers are where monks follow a self-imposed strict condition and follow it until a specified time. Another ascetic was seen standing while his peers sat around him. In a bid to fulfill a wish, he has been standing for eight months and intends to keep doing this for 43 more months. The Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage in which Hindus gather to bathe in holy waters and is traditionally held every four years in one of four cities along India's sacred rivers. The festival, which is more than 2,000-years-old, is a meeting point for Hindu sadhus, some of whom live in forests or Himalayan caves.

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