Kumbh Mela: Kalpwasis throng sandy banks of Sangam

Written by: Anurag Sason
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Allahabad, Jan 27: As the Kumbh Mela started, various scholars have started showing their interest in it, not only in India but around the world. Recently a study conducted by scholars of Montreal University, Canada, revealed that kalpwas is one of the toughest forms of meditation in the world.

The study was conducted by Mathieu Boisvert who is a professor of social science at Montreal University. The professor himself had a first-hand experience of the kalpwas way back in 1989 at Magh Mela.

Out of curiosity to experience the feel of kalpwas, Mathieu visited Magh Mela in 1989 to see what on earth made scores of people congregate on the banks of Sangam for nearly two months. And this first hand experience left him spell bound, following which he conducted a joint research on world's biggest religious fair-Kumbh.

Over a period of next two decades, Mathieu sent nearly a dozen of scholars to Magh Mela, Ardh Kumbh and Kumbh Mela at Sangam to analyse the strength of faith at these fairs.

Talking to press about his research Mathieu revailed, "On my first visit to this place, I could not believe that faith could drive millions of human beings to live in such cold conditions on sandy banks of Sangam and that to for nearly two months. Just to have a first hand experience I, myself stayed here for the entire Magh Mela period in 1989."


The social scientist, who along with his son Jacob is camping with the kalpwasis at Durga camp in sector 12 of the mela, said that he was less impressed with the akharas and mahamandaleshwars and ther religious discourses as compared to kaplwas.

While further elaborating his point, he said that for him kalpwas is the heart and soul of Kumbh. Kalpwasis are real time devotees who, braving all odds continue their meditation under the open sky. "The very thought of kalpwas generates a divine feeling in oneself and the attraction of moksh is even more appealing," he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that not only in Ardh Kumbh and Maha Kumbh but every year during Magh Mela a large number of devotees from across the country gather here for Kalpwas.

They bring along with themselves some basic things like cooking gas, few clothes, bedding etc and live in tents are nearly two months. However it is true that during Ardh and Maha Kumbh the number of such kalpwasis increases many folds.

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