The first time participation of Kinnar Akhada in the Prayagraj Kumbh Mela, held at the Sangam, the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical river Saraswati, has become the centre of attraction among the visitors from every nook and corner of the planet. Earlier you have read how devotees from the United States, Mauritius and Ukraine were fascinated with the scale of devotion in the Mela. Expressing her observation on the participation of Kinnar Akhara, 25 year old Katerina from Czech Republic said, “It is the transformation going on in the Indian society. It is also the evolution of human rights and right to equality and acceptance of third gender among the masses.”
Overseas travellers visiting to India nowadays are overwhelmed with the crowd in the Kumbh Mela. Expressing her fascination, Katerina said, “I am overwhelmed with the crowd here in Kumbh Mela. I went through the newspaper reports that around 50 million people gathered on a single day of Mauni Amavasya which is five times higher than the total population of our country.” The Central European country, Czech Republic which separated from erstwhile Czechoslovakia in January 1, 1993, according to 2011 census, has a total population of little over 10 million.
According to her, such a large scale human congregation tells the tale of India’s cultural, social, and spiritual heritage and devotional power. Praising the administration, she said, “I am surprised to see how the administration is managing such a large crowd. Kumbh is also a good example for the European countries to understand the Indian culture and tradition.”
The group was making a plan to visit India from a year but when they heard that the largest human congregation on the earth is going to happen in the form of Kumbh, they synced their travel dates with the mela (fair). However, the way the Kumbh Mela was promoted globally, they didn’t find it up to that mark. Katerina’s friend Carlos said, “We had heard that that a big number of people from outside India would participate in the mela, but it didn’t happen. We just found few of them from abroad.”
He complained that the organisers were focussing only on local or Indian people. There were no arrangements made for the visitors from outside India. Even the cab drivers were not ready to drop us at our destinations. Trains were cancelled on our travel dates which created big problems for us. Katrina had similar views with her friend. After returning from here, will they recommend their countrymen to visit Kumbh Mela? She said, “It depends on how things get improvised in the future. But, certainly, we are returning with very good experience from here.”
Part of a group of her eight friends, Katrina and Carlos are in the Kumbh Mela for past one week. Before coming to Kumbh, the group visited to Varanasi and participated in Ganga aarti.