Worshipping the river Ganga and the Kumbh Mela

I received this message that I would love to share :
“We at the Jal Biradari and Tarun Bharat Sangh are organizing a very important Kumbh on 6th and 7th of September in an interior village called Khajura in the Tehsil of Sappotara in Karoli district, Rajasthan. For those water lovers who are fed up with seeing the polluting nature of normal Kumbhs, this Kumbh would be a refreshing and an unforgettable experience. Friends, we just want to make our people understand that the true meaning of Kumbh is not to destroy the rivers but to conserve them. We also want to show you how beautifully any river can be rejuvenated.
Let us understand, first of all how the tradition of gathering for Kumbh started. Once there was a king called Bagiratha who was a farmers’ leader. Those farmers faced a severe water crisis then, which made him to take a pledge of bringing down the Ganga who had been dwelling on the mountains. Along with his 60000 farmers, he worked day in and day out to realize his dream. Finally, Ganga came down to the plains. The farmers on both the side of her started practicing agriculture; their homes became prosperous and their souls were liberated……..

Till the time of Bagiratha, there were no big issues on sharing her water among the farmers. But the next generation did not kept quiet; the farmers started fighting with each other. The climax came to settle down these issues. Farmers met the Rishis. The then king was also present. Wise Rishis said, “See Ganga is not ours, not even yours; everybody has the right to use her waters but also we have the duty to conserve our Ganga for her unobstructed flow, for generations! Importantly, the king has higher responsibility of implementing this understanding”. Every one nodded and the tradition of Kumbh started at that very moment. For generations, common people, saints and even the kings gathered for Kumbh to show their solidarity in conserving the purity of Ganga. But friends, today Kumbh is just a ritual. It is polluting Ganga like anything…..
In this regard, any river in this country is getting polluted, severely; is being encroached and exploited unmindfully! It seems that the darkness is enfolding the country from every direction. It seems that there is no way out for escaping from this darkness. If this situation continues, it is sure that we are going to face a severe water crisis in the near future. Will we survive out of this crisis? Will we rejuvenate the rivers? Will we understand the importance of harvesting the rain water where ever it is possible?
Yes, we know that it is a Himalayan task to bring sustainable water prosperity in this country; but it is not impossible, more over it is very necessary. If an isolated, deserted village like Khajura could spring up with full of life by using time tested, traditional water conservation methods, why couldn’t other parts of our country? If the villagers of Khajura could rise from their painful past, why couldn’t all of us? We are not going to say what was the condition prevailed here or how they have succeeded in rejuvenating their ‘Maheshwari River’. We only invite you to see by yourself; hear the story from the villagers!
Friends, “From struggle comes strength and the strength is retained through solidarity”. Let us show our solidarity to keep our earth green, rivers alive; to pass on, pure waters to our next generations! Come and conquer the evils which destroy the very life of our planet!
Expecting your presence and participation,
With Regards,
Rajendra Singh,
Tarun Bharat Sangh.
Simple lodging and boarding facilities are arranged in the villages.
By bus
1. New Delhi(ISBT)-(NH8)-Dharuheda(70Km) to Biwadi(3 Km) to Alwar(40Km) to Mandawar(55 Km) to Mahowa(23 Km) to Hindon(30 Km) to Karoli(25 Km) to Kailadevi(21 Km) to Khajura Village(17 Km)=284 Km.
2. Jaipur-Karoli-Kailadevi-Khajura
3. Agra-NH11-Mahowa-Karoli-Kailadevi-Khajura
By train
1. From South India
Gangapur Railway Station. After getting down here, catch a bus to Karoli(24 Km). Then follow the Karoli-kailadevi-Khajura route.
2. From North
Hindon Railway Station. After getting down here, catch a bus to Karoli(25 Km). Then follow the Karoli-kailadevi-Khajura route.
Contact :
Invitation for ‘Jal Kumbh’ ALBIRADARI
Rajendra Singh (Ramon Magsaysay Awardee)
Chairperson Phone- 9414066765
Email: watermantbs@yahoo.com

18 thoughts on “Worshipping the river Ganga and the Kumbh Mela

  1. Dear Shekhar,
    Another last day in INDIA
    O Kumbh Mela! I have always loved the kumbh mela the biggest fair and collection of humaity for any sort in the world and attended two full kumbhs(1986, 1998) and two ardh kumbh(1980 and 1992) in Hardwar. Ever since Rajiv Gandhi took on a massive initiative to clean the Ganga, the river is very clean till Hardwar but as soon it leaves the city and moves through the entire plains it gets massively polluted. I have always seen a very clean Ganga and always loved it along with the aartis.
    Today is another last day for me as I leave India again to go back to New York. I am in Delhi my most loved city and hired a car to see the great monuments of the city today, bought artifacts and had great food at Delhi Haat, passed by in front of Shekhar’s school, The Modern School. It was a great day and I know why this city, our capital is so great. I know why Ravi Shankar split his time between Delhi and New York. In NY I have taken up membership in a very elite group of members at MOMA, museum of modern art – these are all young people under 41 which they nurture over time so that we can collect art over time and be the benefactors of the museum, some even become trustees – have about 10 social events in Sep itself – will be just great!
    The kumbh is a place where we see the supreme power of faith, the belief that just a dip in the ganga on baisakhi April 13 will take you to heaven and you’ll attain Moksha.
    The emotions are intense and the feeling so divine. Everyone should go once!
    Best Regards,

  2. what will u be doing in NY Himanshu and why have you decided to leave ? You had just come back, right ? Well, whatever, do keep in touch on the website, shekhar

  3. Dear Shekhar,
    I’ll still be doing retail consulting (giving advice to big US retailers and supermarkets) as well as focusing on my big creative project. Hired an A-list attorney in Beverly Hills – was reading his books for 2 years and I approached him direcly and after a few talks he took me on – a very high hourly rate and I said yes!
    Next month is the NY film fest so I’ll meet some people there – don’t have days off to go to Toronto in Sep as I spent all vacation for Cannes. So, I’ll still do management consulting, rest is left to providence.
    Best Regards,

  4. hi shekhar,
    it is beautiful to watch the faith of the people who come to the kumbh as well as the miriad colours that unfold before your eyes…….the costumes, the expressions on the faces of the people and the surge of humanity eager to take a dip in the holy ganga…….
    yet, i have always had the inner communication (with the divine) only when there is relatively less crowds that push and pull . those peaceful moments are what linger in your memory rather than marking your presence during a crowded festival ….the aarti at harki pauri ( hardwar ) in the evenings where you set the diya afloat in the holy water loses its charm when you are being jostled by devotees as well as the pandas who wont let you out of their sight or pray in peace until they get to perform the rituals on your behalf !
    yet the magnitude of this event is huge……..no doubt ! i just expressed my personal preference…….:)
    hey shekhar……whenever you respond to posts there is a green background to the response…..right ? so is this gentleman who responded to himanshu……..you……..or someone else ?

  5. Hi Mr. Kapur
    Hope you are well. Its really heartening to know that there are people who are working in this direction. I wish there was a way to just clean up our act in one big sweep. On a personal note, I miss going to haridwar, rishikesh, the evening aarti and the laxman jhoola. It was so much fun running on it when it shook precariously under our weight. Hopefully will be doing so again soon with my mum and grand ma. Last year we went on a family pilgrimage which included a trip to Prayag- Allahabad. We have so much to give and such a vast cultural heritage. Couple of my friends, both Non-Indians made an interesting documentary on the MahaKumbh that was held few years ago. The film is called Shortcut to Nirvana and it was on Nat Geo. Its an interesting account of the Mela, its spiritual significance and the various Gurus who throng the Kumbh. I watched it in Hong Kong and was humbled by the fact that being an Indian I never thought of doing anything like that and have often taken all that we have for granted. Wondering if you would know of any documentaries that have been done on The Ganges. A project like that would always be very interesting, educational, eye opening and a spiritual journey.
    Best Regards

  6. loves,if we were truly modern,there would be dearth of culture or religion.ha.The kumbhs mythologocal dimension,is not credible but might be a child’s charming story.Having said that,I’m all for a creative renactment in the spirit of worship.But the masses for who religion is a great blind movement have to be educated for a finer understanding of god as religious superstition is rampmant even amidst bollywood stars.It might not wash away your sins,not seriously,but its fun and fervour to believe.

  7. Art is appreciated without the need for greater beauty.me
    Art is the best apsiration of the artist leaving the dastardliness out.me
    I love everyone equally.Some people don’t have faces and are not preferred,seen.Choices are made too easily.me
    I live outside society,but I represent the world.Do you think the world represents itself?(ha)me
    I don’t care for the world.I know I have something.me
    fanaa fanaa fanaa fanaa yeah.
    bye honourable shekhar and readers.chhabi

  8. Honourable Mr Shekhar Kapur,I don’t talk that way.I thought it rather loose to exult on the visual aspect of cinema when the dialogue could be a determinant,if sometimes a lesser one.What about the dialogues of Sholay?
    My diaolgues.
    Shabana:Ah the setting sun.the colors of the soul.And the moon has come out.
    Javed:No one placed the moon at the optimum place and gave it artistic pretensions.I doubt it was god’s plan to make the sun set quite so beautifully.Its pure serenditpity.chhabi

  9. from the girl who changed god.A poem.
    To fall in love
    anybody would do
    why choose?
    yet I’m aware you’re you
    too darn rich and handsome
    with a sleight of the divine
    spoilt by faint women like me
    not an improbable man
    you are mine
    but pardon me,I leave you.

  10. chhabi is the goddess of the universe.There is going to be no divine miracle.Just the word and the spread of the word.Please keep it strictly unofficial.Anyway Prannoy and Rajdeep are skeptics.
    My film-script that was rejected.Mr Shekhar Kapur,I would be honoured if you directed it.
    Girl full of mountains and sheep in a sequestered valley.In the village ma falls down and gets paralysed.Fifteen of her cousins come to visit her.But no one looks after her.She lies in the piss and shit though Yashoda tries for a few days to wash her bums.Mountain girl comes to tend to her.She’s full of teenage wisdom.Keeps grandma clean till her cheeks turn rosy.Cuts her long hair.Decorates her room.Visitors call her devi.Another maidservant arrives with relatives.They both give ma a bath.Those are the days when girl falls in love with vegetable vendor and discusses eloping with new friend.Friend makes eyes at ma,impatiently,when she beckons which girl starts copying.She elopes.
    Ma is crestfallen and acts exaggeratedly schizophrenic.Girl returns,her innocence lost as her husband has beaten and bruised her.Ma is excited as a tender relationship has developed between the two.But girl prefers to sun herself pickling mangoes with Yashoda than talk to eager ma whose become quite sprightly post arrival.Even when ma coughs blood she turns away.The devi has become a devil.Ma dies.There are many nuances to the story including the servant boy,who is fidgety and restless like the wind and does little.I would probably rewrite it.I find the rural ambience and its folk charming.Its Pather Panchali for me or Boom,some cute style honourable Mr Kaizad Gustad.Sincerely,Chhabs.Hey,you haven’t seen the expressions of the three sisters,the ambience and the conversations.

  11. IN NY
    Dear Shekhar,
    You asked me why I came back to NY. Over the last few years I have realized that we don’t really live in countries but in cities. Living in a small town in Bihar is a far cry from living in Bandra or Juhu and simlarly living in small American town is so very different from being in Manhattan.
    I feel after all the hard work and business school education if God gives us an opportunity to live in the best city in the world one must take it. It is nothing to do with which country you belong (NY is on its own, it is a state of mind) just a sort of feeling of fulfillment, a constant high that no alcohol or anything can provide. I feel so good when I have to tell my addrss to my bank, credit card, utility providers or anyone on the phone – whenever they ask to verify your address – it is so great to say New York, New York. At airports when people are going to Cincinnati, Denver if someone asks me where you are going – it is always a high to say New York. I love being asked the question “Where do you live?” which is the first question most ask you. I love saying it in a restrained voice that I live in “midtown manhattan” for I know the power it has – it is natural, the most recognized city in the world and there is no greater thing that that. Infact the power is more when you are outside. Like in Hyd if someone asks me where you live in America – I say Manhattan and they say Really!
    And on a personal level I feel so happy here – I also love Delhi like I wrote some days back. I sat alone at the Raj Ghat just with Gandhiji in the scorching heat last week, offered flowers (it was 2 pm and I was the only one there) and it was so so great. Richard Attenborough suddenly went missing on the first day of shooting of “Gandhi” and later his cast/crew found out that he just wanted to be alone at Rajghat for an hour that day to get the blessings of Gandhiji to make a great film and I’m sure he got the blessings.
    Today I made a list of social/cultural events that I have to attend till December. From my MOMA events to Moving Image Museum to MET to Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, NY Film Fest, special screenings during the fall season, Rubin Museum and diaspora events I made a list of nearly 60 events. Now which other city in the world can provide that – so I truly love NY and really looking forward to the short film you have made about it.
    Best Regards,

  12. Hi Himanshu,
    I was reading your comments on this blog and couldn’t help to respond. I found your views on NYC a little surprising. It somehow does not seem in tandem with all your other posts here. At the outset let me say I half a New Yorker myself. I work in Midtown Manhattan too, though I live elsewhere. I am also an expatriate from Delhi and I agree with you on both counts. Delhi is a wonderful city and it will always be home for me and NYC is pulsating. Being in the city is extremely energising and invigorating. Yet, I find a dichotomy between the person who talks about the power of faith at the Kumbh mela and the person who boasts about the brand value of having a Manhattan address. I can understand getting a high from actually living in NYC and availing all the opportunities that the city offers to expand your horizons. But I don’t grasp the high of merely mentioning you live in NYC and watching the expression of awe on the opposite person’s face. How would your pleasure of living in NYC get affected by what the other person thinks. Would you also feel not-so-good if someone was not as hot about NYC? Do see a dichotomy there as well?
    Incidentally, you were right about NYC being different from the rest of the US. I am a convert in that respect. I started off hating the place and now I love it. I had blogged about it a while back as well (
    http://rituswanderlust.blogspot.com/2008/07/heat-mosquitoes-and-new-york-times.html )
    Anyway, hope you have lots of fun and hope you don’t mind my shooting my mouth off. Your posts and takes on issues are always interesting.
    Best of Luck!

  13. Dear Ritu,
    Thanks for your message and I often say what I feel to see what others feel about what I said. As we are all different we get our highs in different ways, and to keep ourselves self-motivated is the best way to stay happy whereever we are. And the city is so much to so many people so I am just saying what I feel. If you see “Manhattan” by Woody Allen, the first scene where he introduces the city “Chapter 1, …” going back and forth as he descibes it in so many ways is pretty much how I feel about the city.
    Someboday once said “I don’t want to come to end of the life and realize that I have only lived the length of it, I also want to live the breadth of it.”
    So there is no dichotomy – I love the Kumbh Mela and love NYC as well – why not? When we live in so many places, like I do, we can love lots of things – love the pearls of Hyd, the parathas of Chandni Chowk in Delhi, the back waters of kerela, staring at the sea at the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, lattes at the Sydney Harbor overlooking the Opera house, the red wine when aboard the eurail, and the black tie parties of Manhattan. They all add to the breadth of life.
    So thanks again for the post and hope you have a great day.

  14. Hi AJ,
    Hope you are doing great with your ecofriendly project and thanks for your comment.
    And Ritu this is the Woody Allen scene that I was talking about where he talks about Manhattan, analyzing it in so many different ways and trying to define it. One of the greatest scenes in film history. Hope you like it.

    Best Regards,

  15. Thanks Himanshu. That was a great video to dig out. I had seen this film long back and did not remember this portion. New York is amazing. At any given time you can describe it in ‘n’ different ways. I did not know Shekhar is making a documentary on NYC. Is that due to come out soon?
    In the same vein I hope someone makes a film on Delhi as well. That is a wonderful subject just waiting to be tapped. William Dalryample’s ‘City of Djinns’ captures the spirit, the history, the beauty and the mysticsm of Delhi like none other. That would be a good starting point for a film.
    Interesting that you went to Rajghat. I have never been there despite having lived in Delhi since I was born. There is so much of the real Delhi that just falls through the seive of the swanky south Delhi. I did make it a point to visit Chandni Chowk this time I was in Delhi. But, that has changed so much too. It has lost it’s original character. The greatest irnoy was when the made an ardous trek to the famous Ghantewallan’s shop only to find a small hole in the wall shop there. Upon inquiring for some of the delicacies they were famous for, we were non-chalently pointed towards the swarming Halidram shop on the opposite side of the road!

  16. Dear Shekharjee
    i was browsing through net and came across ur site and its wonderful to see it.Dear why we hesitate to tell the truth.The truth is Bhagirath brought back Ganga to earth which was nearly impossible task and spend many years in tapasya and prayer.When we said farmers dug it we r showing disrespect to mother Ganga.Anyway we need to create such an environment where our every word is a song and each step a dance to every heart.

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