Ampersand's Travels...

Join the greatest gathering on earth: Maha Kumbh Mela Festival in Allahabad, India (10 Jan–28 Feb 2013)

Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 will be the largest ever gathering of humanity in a single place in all of history. It is a spiritual event of epic proportions which takes place every 12 years in the city of Allahabad in Northern India. As a launchpad to access this incredible event, you will stay at Lakshmi Kutir, a luxury tented camp which will allow you to connect with the spiritual and holistic aspects of the Maha Kumbh. The camp is spectacularly located at the highest point of the Maha Kumbh, directly in line with the Sangamor main bathing area overlooking the Akharasof various Sadhus and religious personages. The camp is secured around the clock by trained security personnel and run by a team of highly experienced managers.

Unique highlights of Lakshmi Kutir camp:

    • The camp host is a spiritual Sadhak who has dedicated herself to her guru for over 22 years. She is also a Kumbh specialist. The team also has a special Ayurveda Acharya, a yoga specialist taught under the guidance of Iyengar
    • In-camp astrologer
    • Viewing terrace with telescope
    • Ayurveda spa and massage therapy managed by their Ayurveda Acharya
    • Live cooking
    • Interaction with experienced guides and photographers
    • Fine dining experiences in keeping with the ancient Indian philosophy of Satvik food prepared from fresh organic produce from their garden
    • Exclusive excursions into the very heart and soul of the Maha Kumbh providing you with photography opportunities and one-on-one interactions with Sadhus and seers

Please get in touch to book this incredibly special experience which will take place from 10 January – 28 February 2013 by email: info@ampersandtravel.com or by phone: +44 (0)20 7289 6100.




The History of the Maha Kumbh
The Maha Kumbh Mela is a spiritual event of epic proportions which takes place every 12 years in the city of Allahabad in northern India. It is a pilgrimage of faith, salvation and hope for millions of Indians and vast numbers gather in observance of one of India’s most famous religious events. Allahabad, the ancient holy city of Prayag (holiest of the holy) is located at the confluence of the rivers Ganga and Yamuna and is considered the most sacred location for the Mela.

When did it begin?
The first written evidence of the Kumbh Melas in India can be found in the accounts of the Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang or Xuanzang (602 – 664 CE), who visited India between 629 – 645 CE, during the reign of King Harshavardhan. However, it is believed that the observance dates back several millennia, to ancient India's Vedic period when the first river festivals are thought to have been organised. The origin of the Kumbh can be found in one of the popular myths of the creation of the world in Hindu mythology, the Samudra Manthan (churning of the ocean of milk), which finds mention in ancient Hindu scriptures like the Bhagavata Purana, the Vishnu Purana, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.

The myth behind the festival
The Kumbh Mela is a festival that celebrates and commemorates the triumph of the gods over the demons in the battle for Amrit, the nectar of immortality. It is said that during the battle four drops of nectar fell to the earth. A drop each is supposed to have fallen at the cities of Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik and Ujjain. Over the centuries pilgrims have celebrated this triumph of good over evil by bathing in the rivers near the four locations where the Amrit is said to have fallen. It is believed that taking a dip in the Sangam (the holy confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati) at Allahabad during the Kumbh Mela will cleanse one of all their sins and grant an escape from the endless cycle of reincarnation by paving a path for salvation or Moksha.

The relevance of the number 12
According to the myth, once the churning of the ocean of milk yielded Amrit, or nectar of immortality, the gods and demons fought for its control and possession for 12 days and 12 nights. These 12 days and nights are believed to amount to 12 human years, thereby making the number 12 extremely significant and pivotal in the occurrence of the Maha Kumbh Mela. It is believed that at these intervals of 12 years, the confluence waters acquire the properties of the Amrit, absolving one of all sins and granting Moksha or salvation.

The science behind the Maha Kumbh
The Maha Kumbh cycle of 12 years synchronises with the different stages of the sun spot cycle which is known to have a very similar cyclic period of approximately 11.1 years. The sun spot cycle is known to enhance the electro-magnetic field (EMF) of the Earth and its environment which in turn affects the bio-system. Of the many effects of the EM field, one is reported to be to inhibit the regulatory systems of the body, like the nervous, endocrine, circulatory and respiratory, giving rise to a condition quite similar to the inhibitory effects of meditation. In view of this naturally induced meditation physiology, spiritual practice during the Maha Kumbh is greatly advocated.

The camp
Imagine a foggy, cold North Indian dawn, against the backdrop of millions of voices chanting, praying and singing. The clap of a thousand cymbals, the blare of a thousand conchs and the clang of a thousand worship bells. The rising smoke from wood fires, the fragrance of incense and flowers. The ululations of devotees as they surge as a single mass into freezing cold waters as the day breaks, oblivious of vanity or discomfort, cheering in the triumph of their Faith.

Your camp, Lakshmi Kutir, allows you to connect with the spiritual and holistic aspects of the Maha Kumbh and those related to Indian philosophy, mythology and wellness. The camp host, a spiritual Sadhak, is a Kumbh specialist and has over the last 22 years devoted herself to her guru and her personal spiritual journey. She will share her deep understanding of the spiritual and religious communities in India and take guests through what is a very personal journey in the lives of millions of people.

In addition, there is a special Ayurveda Acharya on the team who is also a yoga specialist and has learnt under the guidance of Iyengar. Her expertise in traditional and modern holistic treatments will enhance the Kumbh experience. The Ayurveda spa provides guests with therapies, massages and treatments of ancient Indian methods, in addition to the introductory yoga and breathing exercises. There will be exclusive excursions into the very heart and soul of the Maha Kumbh, providing guests with opportunities for photography, one-on-one interactions with sadhus and seers to immerse themselves in a sea of fervent devotees and soak up the mystical and marvelous energy and power of faith.

Location
A magical camp experience relies on the perfect location and the Kumbh certainly is that. Lakshmi Kutir is spectacularly set at the highest point of the Maha Kumbh, directly in line with the Sangam or main bathing area overlooking the Akharas of the various sadhus, seers and religious personages. A special viewing terrace with a panoramic view of the entire Mela is set up for guests to enjoy from a distance the vast melee stretching out in front without leaving the comfort of the camp. Telescopes and binoculars shall also be available at the viewing terrace.

Operations
A team of highly experienced and skilled managers take care of the camp's operations. Special care will be taken to not only provide a safe and luxurious experience within the camp but also to provide the very special excursions into the Mela itself to reveal the depths of Indian spirituality, theology and tradition. The entire camp will be secured around the clock by trained security personnel.

Accommodation
Accommodation at Lakshmi Kutir comprises three categories of tents: Super Luxury, Luxury and accommodation for long stay guests. All tents feature luxury amenities and all modern conveniences like heating, running hot and cold water and western toilets. A team of English speaking staff will be on hand at all times.

Dining at Lakshmi Kutir
Food at Lakshmi Kutir is integral to your experience. There is a unique dining tent which features a live kitchen serving exquisite meals made from traditional home recipes. Their seasonally inspired menus are prepared keeping in accordance with the ancient Indian philosophy of Satvik food and meals are prepared with fresh organic produce, salad and herbs grown in the camp's vegetable garden and fresh bread, cookies and pies from their own bakery.


info@ampersandtravel.com / +44 (0)20 7289 6100