hindu rituals at kumbha mela 2001

hindu rituals
hindu rituals: Tradition of forefathers
During the day, professional priests availed themselves to pilgrims at key bathing areas to help in the performances of various rituals. The first ritual observed by most pilgrims when arriving at the kumbha mela is the mundana ceremony, shaving the head. Hair is considered the symbol of vanity, and in order to receive the full benefits of a pilgrimage to a holy place, one must first give up vanity. Thus, the pilgrims believe that the hair should be shaven from the head in a gesture of surrender and humility. This mundana ceremony, observed by both men and women, is followed by a full day's fasting, during which pilgrims drink only water.

Rituals such as the mundana ceremony and the worship of the sun-god, Surya, the worship of the goddess of learning, Saraswati, and the worship of Vishnu are customary rituals to be performed by all pilgrims at the kumbha mela. A devout pilgrim would not think of neglecting these same rituals that his ancestors have performed for generations. The rituals require a great amount of skill and knowledge for their proper execution. Some of the pilgrims themselves do not understand the meaning of the rituals or how to perform them; thus, the services of professional priests are indispensable. For a few rupees, everything will be done traditionally, and a pilgrim can return to his village knowing that he has upheld the spiritual standard of his forefathers.

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