Vrindavan 2019.01.20 (VT): In another small step towards making the widows of Vrindavan self-reliant, scented products made by them will be sold at the ongoing Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.
Permission has been sought to put up stalls at the Kumbh Kalagram (artists’ village) to sell incense sticks and ‘ittrs’ (perfumed oils) made by the widows of Chaitanya Vihar’s Aashray Sadan. Flowers used for decoration or as offerings in temples are recycled to make these products.
The flower recycling project has been running for over a year now. After initial training in the methods of production using recycled flowers, the widows have taken control of the project and are enthusiastically producing products including herbal gulal (colourful powders used for Holi celebrations).
Gyptic Arts – manufacturer of wall murals and sculptures located in Chhatikara – has also received an order from the state government to produce 600-700 different types of artwork.
The firm’s owner Vipul Agrawal informed that around 60 artisans have been working on the project for a month now, and 50 per cent of the order was delivered before the first ‘shahi snan’ on Makar Sankranti.
Many sadhus and saints from the ‘Vaishnav Akharas’ of Braj also took part in the first ‘shahi snan’ (one of the most auspicious days for getting the mercy of the confluence of India’s great and holy rivers).
Among those gracing the event are renowned names such as Shri Sundardas Maharaj of Singhpur Hanuman Mandir’s Nirmohi Akhara, Radhavallabh Nirmohi Akharas’ Ladlisharan Das, Gopal Mandir Khalsa’s Sacchidanand Das, Harishankar Das Naga, Phooldol Biharidas, Mahamandaleshwar Shrimahant Ramswarup Das Maharaj, and Karshni Guru Sharananandji Maharaj of ‘Karshni Udasin Ashram’ .
Mahamandaleshwar Shrimahant Ramswarup Das Maharaj said that in addition to the the demand for construction of the Ayodhya Ram Temple, they will also moot the idea of permanent land acquisition for Vrindavan Kumbh Mela at the ‘Dharm Sansad’ which will be held on January 31 and February 01.
The next Vrindavan Kumbh will be held in 2022, on the banks of Yamuna.
While the saints, crafts and widows of Braj shine at the Kumbh, a small role will also be played by the region’s transport services. As many as 50 Roadways buses from Mathura have been sent to the venue to operate as shuttle buses.
In the first phase, 6 buses were sent on January 12, while 46 more will leave between January 31 and February 10. Alternative arrangements are being made for Moradabad, Dehradun and Bareilly routes that have been affected by the departure of the first batch.
Millions of pilgrims will attend the event over the course of approximately 48 days to bathe at the sacred confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna, and Sarasvati rivers in Prayagraj. For the first time, the administration has decided to run shuttle buses within the tent city of Kumbh for visitor convenience.
Recognized as ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage’ by UNESCO last year, Kumbh Mela is the largest public gathering and collective act of faith.
It is held every three years in one of four places: Haridwar (Ganges), Ujjain (Kshipra), Nashik (Godavari), and Prayagraj (Sangam of Yamuna, Ganga and Saraswati rivers) by rotation. The Kumbh is held once in 12 years at each of the locations.
A special Kumbh fair is held in Vrindavan, on the banks of the Yamuna every 12 years, whenever the main Kumbh is at Haridwar. There are several lilas relating the Kumbh to Vrindavan. One popular belief is that while flying with the pitcher of amrit (nectar) obtained after ‘Samudra Manthan’, Garud Dev sat on the Kadamba tree at Kalidah.