India Kumbh Mela 2010: "Sab Kuch Milega"

I was checking through pictures and videos from my India trip today. I was sitting in my sofa on my own and literally cracking up... Soooo many good and funny memories!!

One of the first things me and my "travel buddy"/cousin/best friend, Nicole (also called Nickel in India) did when we got to India was to go to the Kumbh Mela festival. It's said to be the biggest religious festival in the world. Last year, 2010, Purna Kumbh Mela was celebrated from 14th january to 28 of April in Haredwar, about 75 million people attended. On April 14, 2010, approximately 10 million people bathed in the Ganges river. I was one of them :)

Having a swim, cleaning their karma,
in the Ganges

According to the story, during a fight between gods and demons trying to get the elixir of immortality, four drops fell in four different places of India, one of them in Haredwar.

In the feet of the Himalayas, everybody wants to see the sadus Nagha Baba, warriors and defenders of knowledge, but also ex fathers, husbands, architects and doctors who left everything to reach knowledge and illumination. As a kind of penitence they can decide not to speak or to stand on their feet for years (even sleeping, I saw many babas with deformed legs because of that). They live isolated in caves and forests, and only come out in festivities like this.

After squeezing in in a "Sleeper bus" with another 100 indians (nos exagerating, in every 1-person seat there were minimum 3 people sharing, as well as the whole floor full of ppl) for about 16h from Delhi we arrived in Haredwar. Thanks to Couchsurfing we even had a place to stay (would not have been easy or cheap to find a hotel in those days!), we met up wih Deepak, a local guy, and then we left our stuff at his families' house, and then we went to the Kumbh Mela.

Deepak already hosted 3 other "westerners" and one japanese girl, and we all went together to the Kumbh Mela. There were not many "westerners" there, so we dragged a lot of attention! But it also gave us some privileges, since it gives "status" to the sadhus to have westerners in their camping. We were aloud to go in in the Sadhus camping, were we sat down with them, smoked chillum and tried to understand each other using the international sign language :P

Our "boss" sadhu moking charras (indian hashish) from a Chillum

The sadhus were completely naked, covered in ashes and with long dreads. And they were constantly stoned and smiling :)

Smile :)

One of the strangest things I saw, over and over again, was a sadhu rolling his penis around a stick and then letting another baba stand on the stick...
I don't have a penis myself, but I'd think that HURTS!!
Good friends this guys...Auch!

This sadhu has had his arm up in the air for more than 30 years. Check out his nails!

You could get a blessing from the sadhus (after leaving some rupees, of course..)

The "western crew" with a clean Karma after a bath in the Ganges :)

We were really lucky, Deepak managed to fix so that we all could sleep in the camping with the babas! So after a long day enjoying the Kumbh Mela we were aloud to "sleep" in the little camping of one of the main sadhus. We were not allowed to lay down though, nor to put our feet towards the sadhus, that's really disrespectful. After a while "the boss" felt pity for us let us lay down on the ground with a stone as a pillow :) that was def an experience!!

I don't think I'll be sleeping on the ground surrounded by hundreds of completely naked sadhus many more times in my life!

Before going to bed we were invited to sit down, sing and smoke with the sadhus

Next morning. The camping where we slept. Me and my cousin are sitting to the left,
that was our bed for a few hours :)

This is the cutest baba ever, he was soooo sweet and funny and smiley :)

BFFs :)

The boss sadhu had read hair...hmmm...that makes me think he wasn't indian...
(I had just woke up, like 6am..)

I felt like i'd traveled hundred of years back in time! Like to 1001 nights or something!

There are even Bob Marley styled Babas :)
(Check out what he has in his hands...)

"Bob Marley Baba" helps "Cute Baba" fix his hair to be a Bob Marley Baba
and sweet baba is really proud and ask "picture picture!" and pose :)

This guys were having tantric sex or something through eye contact...

Still some time over to get pretty and the local hairdresser ;)

Sadhus walking for the holy bath

Holy bath

Of course such an adventure had to end with another adventure. The day after we were trying to get to Delhi. But we were not the only one.

After walking and walking and asking for buses to the capital a bus passed buy, without stopping, the driver screaming "Delhi Delhi Delhi Delhi Delhi!".

We had to jump up on the back of the bus, while it was moving, and climb up on the roof. So we were actually travelling on the roof of the bus for about 4h, watching the stars.

Until the bus broke down and we had to fit in an already full indian bus (I'm telling u that's crowded...) with ppl on the roof into another full indian bus, but without letting anybody travel on the top of the bus.

I'm telling u it was not a comfortable journey, but def memorable!

When we got to Delhi we could barely move our arms and legs, but the experience was SOOOO worth it :)

"Hindustan me, sab kuch milega"

In India everything is possible

And it's true...

Photos: my own.


  1. Great story Anna!

    I also visited Kumbh Mela and it was fantastic. I miss India..

    Ciao Kavish

    1. good one anna send me a reqst in facebook

  2. Great photos. I wish you had posted all in a large format. Do you have more photos? Specially of the Bob Marley Baba? If you feel nostalgic again please post more. Thanks.

  3. so close to the naked guys? how does it feel?

  4. Awesome. I feel like being there for the occasion. Thanks for sharing

    Kumbh Mela Festival 2013 | Kumbh Mela Dates

  5. thanks dear friend.