Kalpavasi of India in conjunction with Government of Uttarakhand tourism department and Government of India tourism department have extended an invitation to the Burning Man and our Cultural Creative community to join the Kumbh Mela 2010, the largest gathering on the planet. (See invite at bottom).
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.