MONDO WORLD ADVENTURES: INDIA EDITION

THE KUMBH MELA IN ALLAHABAD

All of our trips are hand selected and devised to be wildly entertaining and exotic and hand tailored to satisfy our interesting and creative clients. These are small group adventures and made for healthy and adventurous travelers. There are few restrictions and travelers are free to go off on their own or stay with the group as they please. Clients will be briefed beforehand about the local etiquette, dangers and annoyances, and about how to get the best from the experience.

*****THIS IS LIMITED SMALL GROUP ADVENTURE, SEATS WILL GO FAST*****
Ganges River in Varanasi

KUMBH MELA IN HARIDWAR INDIA

The Kumbh Mela is one of the most sacred days for Hindus to bathe at certain locations in the Ganges River.Tented cities are built along the river and pilgrims will arrive from all over India and the rest of the world. Past estimates of visitors to the Kumbh Mela have been said sometimes to reach 100 million people! The Grand Mela in 2001 was considered the largest gathering of human beings in history.

During the Kumbh Mela period, Hindu religious organizations erect their campsites and millions of devotees live in these tent city. Stories and scenes from Hindu religious texts are staged by folk theater groups in different places in the Mela area.

On the main bathing date there will colorful processions of saints and elephants as the sun rises. As the saints pass by they impart blessings to the people. Then the saints take their bath in the Holy Ganges River.This takes place according to tradition, where groups of saints proceed to bath in the river in an orderly sequence. After all these groups have bathed, then the other people are allowed to enter the Ganges for their bath.

The Kumbh Mela, for the rest of us, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It is a wonder to see this crowd of merchants and buyers, musicians and performers, and seekers and holy men dressed in every imaginable costume - from the finest clothes to the half or full naked “naga saddhus”. As the sun rises on the Ganges this colorful ceremony is an exotic and unforgettable sight. In the evenings the ghats become breath takingly beautiful with thousands of marigolds and offerings floating in the waters of Ganges.

April is the best times of year to be in this part of India and there is much to do and see in and around Haridwar.
Selling empty bottles, Ganges River Haridwar

IN ADDITION TO THIS EXCITING EVENT:


HARIDWAR

The Har Ki Pauri bathing ghat (steps to the river) is one of the most sacred ghats in India. Every evening the sacred ceremony, the Maha Aarti, is performed here and it is an amazing sight to behold when hundreds of small flames are floated on the pure water of the Ganga.

Raksha Mahadev Temple in the nearby town of Kankhal, is a tribute to the legendary king Daksha Prajapati, father-in-law of Lord Shiva. His daughter, Sati was married to Lord Shiva. But King Daksha was not happy with this marriage. Sati was insulted by her father and burnt herself on a pyre.The Daksha temple is a tribute to this legend. This place is one of the five sacred places in Haridwar.

Mansa Devi temple is located at the top of a hill called the Bilwa Parva, from here one gets a spectacular view of Haridwar.

Haridwar is an ancient holy city on the river Ganges. It is a dry city and does not permit the use of either alcohol or nonvegetarian food.

CORBETT TIGER RESERVE

India's first national park. April is the best chance to see the rare tigers when they come to the watering holes at Corbett Reserve. Even without spotting a tiger this is a beautiful park with wild elephants, sloth bears, langur monkeys, rhesus macaques, peacocks, otters, spotted deer and barking deer. You might even see leopards, monitor lizards, wild boars and jackals.There are observation towers overlooking the watering holes which you can climb to unobtrusively watch for wildlife.

Most amazing are the elephant rides into the jungle to see the tigers up close.

TAJ MAHAL - AGRA

One of the Seven Wonders of the world - the Taj Mahal is truly spectacular. A vivid reminder of the opulence of the legendary Mughal Empire, of which Agra was the capital in the 16th and early 17th centuries. Built as a mausoleum by Shah Jahan for his wife, the Taj is the most beautiful of the Mughal monuments. It is built entirely of white marble and inlaid with semi precious stones which gives it an unearthly glow at sunrise and sunset.

FATEHPUR SIKRI

23 miles from Agra lies the mysterious 16th Century city that once rivaled London in its population, wealth and grandeur. The site occupies 117 miles and is enclosed by a wall. Built in 1571, it was mysteriously abandoned just 15 years later. Today, it is India's "Ghost City."

OTHER POSSIBLE DESTINATIONS DURING THE TRIP (contingent on time, interest, transportation, etc)

RAJASTHAN

JAIPUR, barely 160 miles from New Delhi, is known as the Pink City and was founded in 1727 AD by the astronomer king Sawai Jai Singh. The City Palace complex is the most important landmark in Jaipur with numerous outbuildings, courtyards, impressive gateways and temples. Across the road from the palace is the Jantar Mantar, one of the five observatories built by Sawai Jai Singh. A collection of complex astronomical instruments, chiseled out of stone - most of which continue to provide fairly accurate information to this day

PUSHKAR a tiny Hindu pilgrimage town is a magical place, where hundreds of temples surround a holy lake, deep in the India's Thar desert. Like Varanasi, Pushkar is one of the sacred places for the Hindus, with 400 temples of which the most important is dedicated to Lord Brahma - the creator of the universe.

DHARAMSHALA

DHARAMSHALA has become synonymous with the Tibetan government in exile.It is where His Holiness the Dalai Lama made his home after his exile from Tibet in 1959. Set in the backdrop of snow covered peaks of the Dhauladhar Mountains. Dharamshala is a welcome respite from the Indian heat.
It is occasionally possible to meet the Dalai Lama, but there is much else of interest. Dharamshala is dominated by the Tibetan community but it still retains traces of the British colonial lifestyle and many colorful temples reflect the culture of Tibet .

AMRITSAR

THE GOLDEN TEMPLE IN AMRITSAR is the Sikhi religions holiest shrine. The golden dome (said to be gilded with 750kg of pure gold) represents an inverted lotus flower, a symbol of the Sikh aim to live a pure life. A two-story marble temple, reached by a small bridge, stands in the middle of the sacred pool (Pool of Nectar) and four priests inside the temple keep up a continuous chant from the Sikh holy book.
Many visitors rate this as equal or even more interesting than the Taj Mahal . And unlike the Taj Mahal which has limited viewing hours, it is possible to stay as a guest for a night in the Golden Temple.

THE WAGA BORDER CLOSING CEREMONY 18 miles from the Golden Temple, is quite an interesting experience. At sunset every night Indian & Pakistani border troops put on a colorful and somewhat bizarre display as they strut like peacocks and shake hands when they close the border between the two countries for the evening. Crowds on both sides cheer them on as if this was a sporting event.

VARANASI

VARANASI is one of the most fascinating places on earth. Known as the city of Shiva it is also one of the holiest places in India. Hindu pilgrims come to Varanasi to wash away a lifetime of sins in the Ganges River or to cremate their loved ones. For the Hindus this has always been the most auspicious place to die, since expiring here grants one 'moksha' (liberation from the cycle of birth and death). The city is considered the heart of the Hindu universe, a crossing place between the physical and the spiritual worlds, and the Ganges is viewed as the river of salvation. A boat ride on the Ganges in Varanasi is one of India’s most magical experiences.
Golden Temple, Amritsar

RESERVE YOUR PLACE NOW. THIS IS A VERY SMALL GROUP EXPERIENCE.

All photos ©H Goldberg 2017