With 'Soul of the Kumbh', The Hindu revisits the festival

N. Ravi, Publisher and former Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu and Shekhar Sen, Chairman, Sangeet Natak Akademi releasing a special publication 'Soul of The Kumbh - Prayagraj 2019' in New Delhi on Monday, 29th April 2019.   | Photo Credit: V.V. KRISHNAN

To commemorate the recently concluded Ardh Kumbh Mela, held in Prayagraj from January 15 to March 4, The Hindu Group of Publications has brought out a 100-page book — Soul of The Kumbh — that captures the myriad facets of the three-month long holy festival.

The Kumbh Mela is said to be the largest gathering in the world and is a blend of “religion, spirituality, mythology and culture; the coming together of people and religious organisations from across the country, the order in the midst of the seeming chaos,” said N. Ravi, Publisher, The Hindu.

The book, which is rich in photographs, consists of a series of articles. These include the Kumbh as confluence of ritual, faith and philosophy; the meaning of the various rituals; profiles on the participating Akharas (ascetic orders), the asceticism and how arrangements were put in place to ensure that the Ganga wasn’t subject to pollution from the crowds and the infrastructure.

The book was here released on Wednesday by Mr. Ravi along with Mr. Shekhar Sen, Chairman, Sangeet Natak Akademi.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Sen said the Kumbh Mela was a unique event that “nobody was invited to but where everyone congregated to from all over the world to participate.”

Mr. Sen recounted that during a Kumbh, he and his wife had offered their singing talents as ‘seva’ (offering) to the various orders of ascetics who were participating in the event.

The Kumbh mela unfolds at the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati river at the Triveni Sangam in Prayagraj. Given the kind of interest and devotion that this inspires in millions, it merited its own documentation, according to the publishers.

The Hindu has always devoted substantial space in its columns to Indian culture and has been covering the Kumbh Mela in its pages over the last several decades. This year, we thought it was time to bring out a special publication on the Kumbh to bring out its significance, history, the Akharas and participating religious men, the events and the organisation surrounding the Mela along with some stunning photographs, which we hope would be of interest to the readers not just in northern India but in other parts of the country as well,” Mr Ravi said in his address.

“The Kumbh has always been about accepting diversity. The Juna Akhara, the largest of the Akharas, has had Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist followers. The Udaseen Akhara upholds Sikh philosophy. Thus, the Kumbh constitutes a mosaic of cultures and spirituality — which the volume attempts to capture,” notes Suresh Nambath, Editor, The Hindu, in his foreword to the book.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2021 12:31:06 AM |

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