Ujjain Mela - An Exciting Experience
Posted April 17, 2004
After arriving in the holy city of Ujjain from Ahmadabad with Abinandan Prabhu, it took us eight good hours of driving around in an auto rickshaw to locate the ISKCON camp.
The camping site, which is said to cover an area of thirty square kilometres, is dotted with uncountable colourful tents of different spiritual groups and asrams, ranging from impersonalists to personalists, and from Saivites to Vaisnavas.
It is a common sight that everywhere you turn, one is greeted by the milling crowds of sadhus and pilgrims. Most of the sadhus who keep long beards are robed in flowing orange clothes, while others, the Naga Babas go about care freely in the garb from their mothers' womb - naked.
The climax of the festival was April 5th; the first of the Royal bathing days, there was an enthusiastic parade of the different Mahants and their followers, riding on decorated jeeps, trucks and elephants. Yet some preferred to walk.
The residents of Ujjain and the numerous pilgrims lined the streets of the city to offer their pranams as well as feast their eyes on the array of gurus and sadhus milling through the city to the bathing ghats, amidst blurring brass band music. The Vaisnavas were assigned the Rama Ghat. As one approaches the bathing ghat one prepares for a dip, which lasts only a few minutes, in order to give way to others in the queue.
It was not only exciting to have a dip, but to witness thousands, if not
millions, of other pilgrims happily have a dip in the holy waters of the
Shipra River at such an auspicious moment - it was a spectacular and
memorable moment in my life.