Where to even start?
It is an experience beyond words.
India is for those who seek and for those who believe that life might hold just a bit more.
For thousands of years pilgrims have traveled to these mystical lands in search of something greater, deeper and transformative, and this year's journey back is ready to feed our tired and hungry souls.
A lifetime must, being in aligned company and under experienced and conscious guidance on how to approach and experience fully these Holy Cities, make the absolute difference in your experience, understanding, and appreciation for these holy lands and offerings.
For 2019 we immerse together for two of the most sacred pilgrimages at their holy sites with Ardh Kumbh Mela and Shivaratri in Allahabad.
Created with love and purposeful intention by life long travel experts and led by international teacher Erica Jung, a dedicated guide and student of sacred Vedic spaces and philosophies of the Bhakti tradition, this retreat is the ultimate in India is you are not looking to be a tourist but to really dive into the heart of things.
SACRED PILGRIMAGE EVENT INFO:
Kumbh Mela is the largest religious & holiest gathering in the world.
Visiting India during Kumbh Mela can be your most significant opportunity to witness Indian Culture and Centuries-old traditions at its best.
Kumbh Mela, listed on UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, is considered as the world’s largest gathering of pilgrims and is a very vital event for Hinduism.
According to the expert committee of UNESCO, Kumbh Mela is the most abundant, peaceful religious gathering on earth, where people of different classes participate without any discrimination.
The festival has its origins in Hindu mythology which says Lord Vishnu wrested a golden pot containing the nectar of immortality from demons. Four drops fell on the four locations across India, in the cities of Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik in a 12-day fight for possession.
The Kumbh Mela is held at one of these spots every six years, with the festival at Allahabad the holiest of them all.
A site where one of 4 drops of Amrit ( Nector of Eternal Life) were dropped by Lord Vishnu, is the reason that a big number of Hindus from every corner of the world arrive at the fair to bathe in the holy rivers, or a ritual meant to clean them of sin and bring pureness to their lives.
The Kumbh Mela Allahabad attracts devotes in millions from all over the world.
This yoga of Makar Sankranti is called “Kumbh bath-yoga” and this day considered a particular delight because they believed that on this day the doors of heaven from the earth open and by taking a bath here, the soul gets liberation with ease.
This powerful and deeply spiritual event happens only on the 6th year of every 12 years.
ADDITIONAL SIGNIFICANCE OF ALLAHABAD:
Kumbh at Prayag (Allahabad) is more critical than other Kumbh because it leads to light. Prayag is a place where the symbol of intelligence is the rise of the sun.
Prayag considered as the origin of the universe and the center of the earth.
It is believed that before the creation of the world, Brahma Ji (also known as Svayambhu or self-born) did Ashwamegha Yagya here in Allahabad.
Along with Brahmeshwara temple, Dashwamedh Ghat is now present here as a sign of the Yagya. ("sacrifice, devotion, worship, offering", and refers in Hinduism to any ritual done in front of a sacred fire, often with mantras.)
SIGNIFICANCE OF MAHA SHIVARATRI:
Auspicious festival of Mahashivaratri falls on the 4th night of the new moon during Krishna Paksha in the Hindu month of Phalgun and is celebrated by the devotees of Lord Shiva, who is the God of meditation, austerity, and contemplation.. The Sanskrit term, Krishna Paksha means the period of waning moon or the dark fortnight.
Shivaratri Festival is celebrated on a moonless night.
Maha Shivaratri is considered the day when adiyogi or the first guru awakened his consciousness at the material level of existence.
Different legends describe the significance of Maha Shivaratri.
According to Hindu mythology, Shivaratri or ‘Shiva's Great Night’ symbolizes the wedding day of Lord Shiva and Parvati. Many however, believe, Shivaratri is the night when Lord Shiva performed the Tandava Nritya - the dance of primordial creation, preservation and destruction.
Devotees strongly believe that praying to Lord Shiva on this auspicious day washes away their sins and takes them closer to the path of salvation. On this day, devotees observe strict fasting and worship Lord Shiva with Milk, honey, sandalwood paste, Bel Leaves, flowers, fruits ets. It is followed by Meditation, chanting mantras and singing bhajans praising the Lord, throughout the night .
Celebrations of Shivaratri Festival mainly take place at night. Devotees of Lord Shiva throng Shiva temples across the country and spend ‘the Night of Lord Shiva’ by chanting verses and hymns in praise of the Lord. The festival holds special meaning for the ladies. They pray to Goddess Parvati also called ′Gaura′, the giver of ′suhag′ for good husbands, marital bliss and a long and prosperous married life.
This year Maha Shivaratri has particular significance in Allahabad being a main and final bathing day of Ardh Kumbh Mela.
Janeshwar grew up singing and playing kirtan. He is a master at leading kirtan and a gifted teacher who has been practicing bhakti from a very young age. His music training took place at the Bhaktivedanta Gurukul (traditional vedic education system) under the well known mridanga (drum) teacher Radha Govinda Pal. Later on, Janeshwar traveled to the holy village of Vrindavan where he took the vows of a monk and did selfless service at the famous 24-hour Kirtan Mandali for several years. Today he travels around India playing for Kirtan Festivals. Under his tutelage, students will learn the best and traditional way of drumming (on the mrdanga clay drum) and will leave with the skills needed to accompany kirtans.