Fun and Fair
My partner Gillian Wright and I managed to persuade the BBC that they wanted a programme about the Kumbh Mela for their Radio 4 network. This took us to Allahabad for our third Maha Kumbh. I’ve described kumbh melas as spiritual trade fairs; when we arrived this time we found the fair in full swing. Mahatmas, mahamandaleshwars, sadhus and sants had all set up their stalls and scattered their advertisements around the vast fair ground. There was a deafening cacophony of music sacred and Bollywood, mixed with loudspeakers blaring the messages of the multitude of men and women who had come to put across their religious messages. The faithful were wandering from guru to guru, sampling discourses and listening to recitations of the great Hindu epics. The camps of the akharas, the historic monastic orders, were a big attraction.