16 Million People Get Wet in the Largest Peaceful Gathering in History

Kumbh melaPhoto: Not known

There is an event called the ‘Holy Dip’ and it just finished after much fanfare in the Indian subcontinent. Yes, you heard that right: the Holy Dip. This year this celebration took place on the foothills of the Himalayas, in a town that Hindus believe is the adobe place of the Gods: ‘Haridwar’.

Kumbh Mela in Full FlowPhoto: Not known

The Holy Dip, or ‘Kumbh Mela’, spans over two months and constitutes a series of rituals and practices followed religiously by millions of people. It is one of the oldest ritual meetings in the world and is practiced by one of the oldest religions of this world: Hinduism.

According to the tradition of the ritual, people bathe in the river Ganges to cure themselves of all their prior sins and to open the gates to the Heavens. It is believed that during these two months, the water of the Ganges turns into nectar that washes away with it all your sins and misdeeds, not only of this life but also of your previous births – a strong belief that stems from the concept of reincarnation.

Kumbh Mela at nightPhoto: Not known

It is estimated that people from nearly 120 countries across the world took part in the Holy Dip (a huge number, if you consider that ‘Kumbh Mela’ is a Hindu festival). On 14th April 2010 more than 16 million people bathed in the holy river, a record that is soon going to be registered in the Guinness Book of World Records. No peaceful gathering in the history of mankind has seen so many people turning out for one combined purpose.

A typical ash-clad sadhuPhoto: Not known

There was no difference between rich and poor. Every individual, drenched with ash and the desire to do away with his sins, bathed and hoped that the Heavens will open its gates to him, when he closes his eyes, forever.