If It’s Not On Your Bucket List Yet…It Should Be
The Kumbh Mela is the most fascinating event I’ve ever been to in my life.
For someone who’s been around the world twice and visited over 110 countries, that should indicate how impressive it really was.
Every 3 years, millions of Hindus gather along the Ganges River to wash away their sins and be blessed by holy men from dozens of religious sects, all in the hopes that they will reach Nirvana and not be reincarnated again. Every six years, the number of pilgrims more than doubles because the sun, moon and Jupiter align in an auspicious way. I was at the six year Kumbh Mela. The next big, big “Kumb” will be in 2022 and again in 2025, so mark your calendars.
Before you commit your clients to an almost life changing experience, make sure you are working with the very best tour operator.
You will want your clients to stay in the best places. Clients should be sure to book a visit to the tents of the holy men. An incredible guide will smooth the way so travelers never feel uncomfortable, even when they’re taking hundreds of photos because each sight is more incredible than the last.
How does the Indian government accommodate millions of people who come for anywhere between one day to the entire two months of the festival? They build a tent city on 2,200 acres of the sandy banks where the Ganges meets the Yamuna River. The entire area has electricity, cell service and port-a-potties. Dirt “roads” lead to 21 pontoon bridges across the rivers. I traveled with Cox & Kings, and their guides knew the best places to visit in the tent city, what to see, and who to talk to. I would have been lost without them. At no time did I feel overwhelmed or unsafe.
Western style accommodations are limited at the Kumbh Mela but there are “tents” for glamping (glamorous camping). This Ultimate Traveling Tent included a bedroom that was twice the size of my bedroom at home, with a huge king sized bed, mini bar, wardrobe, desk, end tables and chandelier. There was a separate bathroom with a stall shower, western toilet and a gorgeous copper sink I wanted to steal. Delicious meals are served in the luxurious dining tent while other tents are for the full spa services, yoga, videos and other entertainment.
If you can’t make the Kumbh Mela, don’t despair. A much smaller version takes place daily in the holy city of Varanasi. Again, to get the most of your experience be sure to use an exceptional tour operator.