Hindu priests hold oil lamps as they perform evening prayers on the banks of river Ganges during the “Kumbh Mela”, or Pitcher Festival, in the northern Indian city of Allahabad Jan 17, 2013. During the festival, hundreds of thousands of Hindus take part in a religious gathering at the banks of the river Ganges. “Kumbh Mela” will again return to Allahabad in 12 years. - Reuters
Hindu priests hold oil lamps as they perform evening prayers on the banks of river Ganges during the “Kumbh Mela”, or Pitcher Festival, in the northern Indian city of Allahabad Jan 17, 2013. During the festival, hundreds of thousands of Hindus take part in a religious gathering at the banks of the river Ganges. “Kumbh Mela” will again return to Allahabad in 12 years. - Reuters

NEW DELHI: India's Kumbh Mela, the world's biggest religious festival which sees up to 100 million people flock to take a bath in the river Ganges, is good for pilgrims' health, according to a new study.

Despite facing cold weather, endless noise, poor food and the risk of disease, Hindu devotees who attend such events report higher levels of mental and physical well-being, said the study by researchers in India and Britain.

“While some might indeed fall ill and feel worse, for most the Mela gathering is good for their health,” said the research entitled “Understanding the Pilgrim Experience”.

The 55-day Kumbh Mela in Allahabad in northern India, which takes place every 12 years, began on Monday where authorities said eight million people jostled for space to take a dip in the sacred waters which are said to cleanse sins.

Smaller festivals take place every year in India.

Social scientists from four British and five Indian universities concluded that the shared group experience of enduring hardships and sharing the same activities outweighed any physical discomfort.

“The experience of being part of a tightly-knit group of Hindu pilgrims, and the sense of support one gets from one's fellow pilgrims, enhances one's sense of being part of the community more generally,” it said.

The study, published in the scientific journal Plos One, involved two surveys in 2010 and 2011 involving 416 pilgrims and a sample of 127 people who had not attended a similar festival.

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Comments (16)

mirasha(USA)
January 20, 2013 4:05 am
Perceptions matter.
proud hindu
January 20, 2013 4:38 am
thanx
Kaly
January 20, 2013 10:31 am
Thank you Tony....you have said the truth in such a simple manner....salute to you.... from A very ordinary citizen of India
gautam
January 19, 2013 8:15 am
Love towards all and hatred towards none.
Talkingpoint
January 20, 2013 7:41 am
These waters were the very same waters where Hindu Gods took their baths and gave cleansing values to the rivers . Besides in Hindu mythology Ganges is personified as a lady flowing the head of Led Shiva. This is one of the core beliefs of Hindus . "With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation" says the Bible( Isaiah 12:3). Commenting on a religious belief is arrogance . By the way , we are not talking here of the type of water you drink to get tipsy .
urawal
January 19, 2013 9:13 am
A 100 million Gathering at a single place is not a joke. In spite of various short comings , administrators surely deserve an applause including the participants who rejuvenate themselves. Even if for somebody , the sins don't get cleansed with water. , the thought and confidence of the same is good enough..............
Cherian (Melbourne)
January 19, 2013 3:24 am
While the health benefits for the devotees could be open to debate, the spirit in which they are held and the fact that this mammoth event is organised without any major hitch despite limited resources and administrative help deserve all round applause.
Anony
January 18, 2013 7:02 pm
If dipping in water would really clear away ones sins, this world would be free of all sinners. This is ignorance.
Adnan Khan
January 20, 2013 7:36 am
We all are sons and daughters of Abrham who brought us one belief and religion that Almighty Allah is the one and only one we should worship Allah and He the Lord is one who bestow His blessings on all of us. So we all are one.....
Dr Khan
January 18, 2013 8:12 pm
What is nice here? a good environment for skin diseases?
Tony
January 18, 2013 4:00 pm
Your Fore-fathers and my fore-fathers (I am a Catholic) too, perhaps three/four generations ago, undertook pilgrimages in such Kumbh-melas. We are all one, as we have the same ethnicity and same genes...so we continue to be brothers and sisters of blood relations. Our Forefathers decided to convert, either due to torture/force or on their own will, is not our fault. We were just born in a family which followed the new religion. But we continue to have the ancient genetic bonds with the Hindus and the Buddhists of this sub-continent. And we have to be grateful to them, for they still treat us as one of their own, without any discrimination.
Deep
January 20, 2013 7:14 am
Tony wat u hav said is 100% right but most of the muslims of subcontinent dont believe in what u hav said or even if they believe they dont accept their Hindu or Buddhist ancestry openly, but somewhere in ter subconscious mind the Hindu nd Buddhist sentiments nd feelngs r still there. One can run away frm th religion but its very difficult to run away frm more than 10000 yrs old cultural bondings.
Zishi
January 18, 2013 1:51 pm
Got nothing to do with me but good for Hindus. I wish them a safe and sound pilgrimage experience.
Burhan
January 18, 2013 2:57 pm
Thank you, Paki Boy!
Ahsan
January 20, 2013 7:49 am
I hope every thing would be safe at the end. :)
Dharan-Indian
January 18, 2013 12:56 pm
nice one
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