Prayagraj, Jan 15 (IANS) The Kumbh Mela, which kicked off early on Tuesday with thousands taking a holy dip at the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna rivers and the mythical Saraswati, is seeing numerous sadhus and mystics, whose varied looks and practices are evoking curiosity among those who have descended on this historic city.
The by-lanes of Prayagraj as well as the five-kilometre stretch of the bathing ghats is flooded with evoking sights as holy men and seers display their unusual practices in full glory.
Seated at one of the tents near the pontoon bridges that lead the visitors to Sangam is a holy man making show of his nearly three-metre long moustache, which he claims to have grown without interruption over the past decade.
Dozens of devotees thronged his tent and engaged with him. Some sought photographs and selfies.
Barely a few steps away from him is the “Selfie Baba”, clad in a spiritual attire and equipped with a selfie stick attached to a smartphone. His appearance, in his own words, signifies the meeting of mythology and technology.
“Come and click a selfie to carry home as a memorabilia,” he was heard saying to draw the attention of passersby.
He is not the only one adding a touch of modernity to this ancient mega religious, spiritual and cultural congregation. The “Laptop Baba”, a Naga Sadhu, wearing all but a Rudraksha mala, is another star attraction.
Seated on the floor next to a fireplace by the bank of the Ganga, the “Laptop Baba” is no stranger to crowds as he claims to have participated in at least three previous editions of the Kumbh.
Then there is the “Foreigner Baba”. Although a native, he wears a red cowboy hat and punky sunglasses. Scores of the passersby stop near his tent and click pictures or share a moment of excitement on seeing him.
What evokes curiosity among devotees is the fact that Naga sadhus are self reliant. So, though they may come in different avatars arousing interest among onlookers, they could also be seen cooking their meals in the open and cleaning their respective tents.
A slew of such sights, such as those of Sadhus depicting Hindu god Shiva or those playing the symbolic ‘Damru’, mark the Kumbh Mela 2019 that will continue till March 4.