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Showing posts from February 24, 2013

Seeking a Glimpse Of Immortality In The Waters Of India's Holy Rivers

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Seeking a Glimpse Of Immortality In The Waters Of India's Holy Rivers

The Hindu gathering known as Kumbh Mela is on a scale difficult to fathom: The world's largest religious festival is millions of feet shuffling, millions of mantras chanted, countless sales of firewood to ward off the night cold. Millions of incense sticks will be burned and bells rung in devotional rituals called aartis.

Jet-setting swamis, naked holy men and foreigners fascinated by Eastern mysticism joined tens of millions of pilgrims for a dip in river waters believed to be holy.

Tragedy struck Sunday on the biggest day of the 55-day-long festival, when a stampede killed 37 people at a train station ferrying pilgrims home from the Kumbh Mela.

In a single day — this past Sunday — an estimated 30 million people celebrated on the river banks of the city of Allahabad. It's as if the combined populations of Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Minnesota showed up at the same place, at the same time. These…