Friday, January 15, 2010
HARIDWAR, INDIA (AP) - It was reported yesterday that an out of control group of Cultural Creatives from the US burned their camp down at the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, India in a blaze set while trying to perform "Its a Small World After All". Authorities said there were no injuries and that the event was actually quite "hilarious". There was no comment from members of the camp as no one could stop laughing.
There is talk of organizing a 3 to 5 day camp stay within the large Kalpavasi camp site towards this cultural exchange and possibly a night of performance hosted by our camp. Kalpavasi is very excited and encouraging about this prospect. This would be the second week of March 2010.
The Kalpavasi camp, open to foreign visitors, contains luxurious tents for rent including bathrooms, all meals, Kumbh Mela itineraries and most importantly, security. These are items you would have to think fast and hard about if you were to camp independently at the event... if you could even figure it out. The cost for this stay is about 350 bucks or so (Kalpavasi Plus program).... seemingly hefty for India...but well worth it. You can save money and stay in all those cool $20 to $30 hotels and eat those $5 meals everywhere else you go.
Coming the week earlier of the camp stay, you catch the International Yoga Festival in Rishikesh (the next town down on the Ganges) that many are also planning... and if you were to go even a week earlier, you could catch the Dali Lama's public appearance and talks up in his residence above Dharmsala.
If one wanted to stay in a cheaper hotel in Rishikesh and visit the Mela in nearby Haridwar from there, that's do-able also, but the Mela is best experienced being there. Staying in a hotel and going to the Mela daily is like staying at Bruno's in Gerlach and going out to Burning Man daily; getting in and out is of considerable time and you miss a lot.
We were in Rishikesh last year at same time of year visiting Patrick and Shala (former Anon Salon colleague and BM Church of Wow Camp members) and their school for under privileged kids. See www.mothermiracle.org Really cool what they are doing there. I'd recommend a visit. Patrick even teaches some of the kids how to DJ on the side along with their computer classes.
There are several hotels in Rishikesh I would recommend if you go that route or stay in Rishikesh for awhile before or after Mela. You can see several photos of Rishikesh and Mother Miracle etc on our travel blog, www.indiamoons.blogspot.com.
To make this trip; you would probably be booking a flight into Delhi (and at this point Continental is probably still the cheapest at around 1200 TO 1400 bucks). From there you can take bus, book train (figure out how to book train tix IN ADVANCE on the www.irctc.co.in website or I can explain it) or you can hire private car to get to Haridwar or Rishikesh from Delhi.
This Mela only happens every 11-12 years. This chance in a lifetime is to reciprocate and extend our community and culture graciously as international guests to the biggest spiritual and cultural gathering on the planet.
You can contact me about booking at Kalpavasi Camp, travel info or discount codes or be someone to take this bull by the horns as I may or may not make it myself. ...or go later. The Mela goes on until May.
The Eastern Indians have been Burning for the past 2000 years. The Indian culture has been practicing many rituals over the millennia which are sure to attract your attention. One of them is the largest act of faith “Kumbha (Kumbh) Mela”. We are happy to invite you to the most magnificent event in the world – the Kumbha (Kumbh) Mela. As the idea of Kalpavasi has so many similarities with the Burning Man, we feel privileged to associate with you, fellow Burners
We are excited to see the Ravan Dahan (the Indian ritual of Burning the ten headed demon Ravan, the antagonist from the Ramayana) and the Kama Dahan being emulated through the Burning Man to such gigantic proportions. We believe that Burners will derive the same pleasure from the Kumbha Mela as from the Playa
Kalpavasi combines the best of both the worlds – the Indian spirituality and the western sensitivity. It’s a great adventure just to visit India anytime and whole lot more amazing during the Kumbha (Kumbh) Mela
We see many similarities between the Kumbha Mela & Burning Man:
- Both can’t be explained, only experienced
- Both need a special sense of adventure and curiosity and make a person hone their survival capabilities
- Both are expressions of art and culture, albeit in a unique paradigm of the east meeting west and west meeting east
- Both have bonhomie and sharing as their crux
- Burning Man says - You'll leave as you came. When you depart from Burning Man, you leave no trace. Everything you built, you dismantle
- Kalpavasi says – You’ll leave as you came. When you depart from this earth, you will leave no physical trace, only the spiritual; what you have experienced and what you have contributed to the Humanity shall be the only things left behind. Everything including the Universe is Transitory, therefore seek and enjoy Bliss
- Burning Man - Over time, vivid images still dance in your brain, floating back to you when the weather changes
- Kalpavasi – Over time you shall control your mind and make even the most mundane image dance
- Burning Man community - whether you’re friends, new acquaintances or the Burning Man project; embraces you
- Kalpavasi community – you are fellow Burners and the Kumbh makes you a part of the whole
- At the end, though your journey to and from both the Burning Man and the Kumbha Mela are finished, you embark on a different journey forever .
Yes Kalapavasi is a tourism company selling packages....however, that the India Tourism board is reaching out and resonating with the BM community is pretty hip of them. They sent a load of incense out to the Playa with invitations printed on the package this past year. The film director for the Mela (and for many of Dali Lama's documentaries) assures me that pricey as the camp stay may seem for India, its worth it IF you want to camp at the Mela (see tent info below). Not so much more than a BM ticket for the days there.
I am an affiliate...meaning I can get up to 20% discount if we get 20 plus people there and there is a discount code should this be of interest. Anyone can become an affiliate, but its not going to amount to anything as a discount thing unless there are a fair amount of people (and that would get passed down)...its about getting people together there.
Swiss Cottage Type Tents
For those who want to experience the Kalpavasa VratÀ from within the Kumbha Mela Kshetra, comes closest to the traditional idea of being a Kalpavasi
Accommodations offered are of Swiss type tents with certain modern facilities like electricity, bedding, security; Etc. Kalpavasis can expect the same experience as a traditional Kalpavasi staying inside the Mela Kshetra albeit with little more comforts. (Not recommended for the non-adventurous)
Complimentary Welcome pack including instructions guide, T-shirts, memorabilia, etc **
Complimentary Tour of Spiritual & Religious Places around Haridwar
Group security along with English speaking guide
Complimentary Breakfast and Dinner (Buffet)
- All meals are vegetarian combined with milk & milk products; no meat can be consumed in Haridwar by Government order
- Kalpavasis who wish to bath at the Ganges Ghats in the morning may opt for a lot brunch with prior intimation
- Double bedded Swiss type tent
- Dessert coolers
- Air-conditioning & room heater*
- En-suite bathrooms, wake up service, etc
- Running water
- Multi-cuisine restaurant
- 24 hours Access to all the areas of the Mela Kshetra
- 24 hours on call Doctor*
- Internet & Wi-Fi connections*
- Currency Exchange
- Laundry services*