The Ardh Kumbh, we’re informed, is only half as good as the Kumbh Mela, but as the latter is only held every twelve years something is needed to combat the boredom in between, so every six years they throw in an Ardh Kumbh.
If you fancy having your sins washed away there’s no better way to do it, but beware all those nasty bacteria floating in the Ganges – and don’t believe the authorities when they say it’s clean. It isn’t. After all, with fifty million people splashing around in it, if it was clean before – which it wasn’t – it’d be pretty putrid by now.
Of course, it won’t work unless you’re a Hindu, for Ardh Kumbh is a Hindu festival that’s held on the banks of the Ganges – in winter; the idea being to throw off one’s clothes, leap into the freezing water and have a jolly good scrub. End result: bye bye sins; hello pneumonia.
Now, forgive the skepticism, but whose bright idea was this?
I can appreciate that the Ganges was once a nice, clear, sparkly river, before Indians began emptying all their sewers into it, but I fail to comprehend the point of stripping naked and immersing oneself in freezing liquid when air temperatures are hitting sub-zero. I can understand the symbolism of “washing away sin”, but does it have to be such an unpleasant process? What’s wrong with a nice gentle bathe in mid-July, when all the pretty flowers are in bloom and families can bring a picnic? Is it asking too much of whichever Hindu god does the forgiving? Isn’t he around in summer? Well, hey, the Hindus worship more than one god. How about a stand-in? Surely some junior deity can understudy if the main guy’s on vacation through the summer? Is it too much to ask?
Apparently so, at least according to the hordes of holy men and pilgrims thronging the northern Indian town of Allahabad for this six week long bash, living in tents in sub-zero temperatures on ground frozen hard as rock.
Seems an Ardh Kumbh is nothing more than an Ardh Slumbh that leaves you with a sore Bumbh.
Read more about the Ardh Kumbh HERE.
Filed under: Weird species