What is Kumbh Mela?
Hopes of washing their sins away and escaping the cycle of reincarnation continue to bring hundreds of millions of Hindus to one of four holy cities for the Kumbh Mela festival. In the city of Allahabad, Hindus believe that the Ganges and Saraswati Rivers intersect with a mystical river where the gods come to bathe. Pilgrims travel from all over India and the world to bathe in the river and even will bring sticks to dip in for their loved ones who cannot attend.
For 55 days the Kumbh Mela pilgrims line the river banks with their tents. Parades of different Hindu sects roam the streets while naked, dreadlocked Hindu holy men cover their bodies in ashes to teach and bless the masses of people. In 2013, this was called the largest religious gathering in the world with a total of 100 million participants converging on a city of 1.2 million.
How Does It Affect Christians?
It is illegal for Christians to share the gospel on the festival grounds during Kumbh Mela. However, many national believers risk imprisonment and sometimes their lives to share how people can really have their sins washed away.
How Should We Pray for Hindus During Kumbh Mela?
- Pray that the pilgrims of the next Kumbh Mela will hear the gospel and will place their faith in Jesus who can truly wash away their sins.
- Pray for national believers and Christian workers who boldly proclaim the gospel during the festival. Ask for their protection and also for their witness to reach the masses.