kumbha mela 2001

kumbha mela
fire at kumbha mela

Camelus dromedarius, the camel, a hearty beast of burden used in India for centuries to transport cargo long distances and through difficult terrain, was the unsung hero of the Kumbha Mela. Carrying heavy loads of firewood, tents, and food on their raised backs, these awkward creatures formed the lifeline from the outside world to the Kumbha Mela residents. In the soft sand, cars, trucks, and even horse carts often got stuck. While cars, trucks, and even horse-carts often got stuck in the soft sand, the rugged camel and his goods always got through.

Open fires, an essential part of everyday life at the Kumbha Mela for cooking and performing certain rituals, got out of hand on two occasions and caused considerable property damage. The campsite of the Rama Krishna Mission of Calcutta was eighty percent destroyed when fire broke out in the kitchen, and the 500-square-yard camp of the Panchayati Akhara sect was destroyed in fifteen minutes when a faulty electric switch ignited a fire in their residential quarters.

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