There are so many reasons why we choose to travel. Not least among them is a desire for spiritual inspiration, to attain a fresh understanding of whatever we choose to call God, and seek out enlightenment—sometimes at a sacred historic source. The world’s most ancient cultures offer experiences both profound and exotic born of thousands of years of accumulated spiritual knowledge and practice. It is with that sometimes-undefined yearning for both adventure and illumination that Toto Tours has put together an amazing journey into the heart of India where you will join in the dazzling and transcendent Kumbh Mela celebrations.
“At the point of confluence of the rivers, a space opens up between this world and the celestial…” Prof. Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad, Lancaster Univ.
The Kumbh Mela is a sacred Hindu festival that takes place every 12 years according to the alignment of Jupiter, the sun and the moon. The location on the plain where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet attracts over 120 million pilgrims and visitors over a two-month period. The festival is a gathering that attracts the spiritual leaders and sects from every part of the Hindu world. Followers of holy men called Sadhus place their tent compounds along broad streets where visitors can stroll and enter into fascinating discussions or participate in age-old rituals. Demonstrations involving extreme physical contortions and ascetic practices are presented for everyone to see. All of this revolves around the practice of bathing in the sacred river Ganges on proscribed times and days. It is at once a spectacle beyond description and an interior journey of enlightenment for each individual visitor.
If this sounds fascinating but a bit daunting, fear not! Toto has secured space in a marvelous compound of individual crisp canvas safari tents. Each comes complete with a private bathroom and hot and cold running water! You can lose yourself for a time in the swirling sea of spirituality but then retire to your air-conditioned tent for a shower, a delicious lunch and a nap! This is the sort of thing you would be hard pressed to arrange on your own and Toto has done all the logistics so that you can relax and join in this incredible, life-changing adventure in comfort and security.
The tour begins in New Delhi where of course there are amazing sights to see. From Delhi progress to Budhgaya where the Buddha achieved enlightenment under the fabled Bodhi tree. The focus is on fascinating Buddhist holy temple complexes that must be seen to be believed. Next the tour moves to Varanasi on the river Ganges. This is the holy city all Hindus must visit once in their lifetime to bathe in the sacred river. The city is a gorgeous warren of temples and bazaars and Toto has arranged a lovely evening on the river at sunset where you will observe the spectacle of the aarti fire ceremony. From Varanasi the journey moves to the city of Allahabad and two days soaking up the atmosphere at the amazing site of the Kumbh Mela festival.
Moving on from Allahabad the tour continues to Lucknow and Agra ending with a pre-dawn carriage ride arriving at the glorious Taj Mahal just at sunrise! The “Eternal Rivers” tour promises a seamless joining of adventure and spiritual experiences that will enhance your life and open your heart in new and unexpected ways. “All differences in this world are of degree, and not of kind, because oneness is the secret of everything.” Swami Vivekananda
Click here to read the itinerary and prepare for an out-of-this-world experience!
Dan Gregory has worked behind the scenes researching locations for Toto Tours since 1992.