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Thread: Royal Enfield Bullet ride - Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 -> Kolkata - Allahabad - Kolkata

  1. #1

    Royal Enfield Bullet ride - Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 -> Kolkata - Allahabad - Kolkata

    The Maha Kumbh Mela, believed to be the largest religious gathering on earth, is held every 12 years on the banks of Triveni Sangam, at the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. Lasting 55 days, it is celebrated at the holy site of Sangam in Allahabad; in 2013, by the time it was over, around 100 million people had made the pilgrimage to the festival.


    There are three different kinds of kumbh: an ardh (or half) kumbh is held every six years at one of the three set locations, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik; a purna (full) kumbh is held every 12 years at Allahabad. The 2013 gathering was a much more bigger and auspicious one, a Maha Kumbh and that only ever happens after 12 purna kumbhs every 144 years - and it is always held at Allahabad.


    A sadhu and his trishul on a shahi snan day [royal bath] at Maha Kumbh Mela, 2013
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    2013 is also the year I complete around 25 years of Royal Enfield Bullet riding. It all started at class 8 around on my father's Enfield Bullet, which gave way to my Royal Enfield Bullet Electra, the last batch of those having the neutral finder and left side brake. All these years it has been only a Bullet I have ever ridden. All old trips here and there, solo or we together [with Asmita], were never documented as never had a camera till recently.


    So how does a born "Bulleteer" go to the Maha Kumbh Mela - By a Royal Enfield Bullet - celebrating my 25 years of Bullet riding.


    Now why a "born Bulleteer", if there is a term like that!

    Getting back to few reminisces>>> In my school days I used to stay at Durgapur since both my parents were working out there at the Steel Plant. My father had a Royal Enfield which he bought second hand, in 1968, all gleaming and with real good chrome rims written "Made in England". It had the original Amal carburetor and so by eight I was riding it up and it was a big thing for someone at that age; it has to be - riding a Bullet at class eight.


    This one is still there with us and still an everyday ride for father and also for me - as and when I need that undiluted old style beat! Seen here my father with the Royal Enfield, 1968
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    As it is said, a Bullet is Bullet and there nothing like that and so never ever gave a thought to the car and it was much that feeling for long. The car experience, in early years, was our Ambassador Mark II.

    But those were school days, class 11 and 12, though the car and sometimes a friend's jeep left an impression, - nothing came close to a Bullet for getting that rebel grind. Just loved the way some parents used to cringe when I took their wards for a ride and hear them quietly say - this bugger, no parent discipline and making our child go with the wrong tide.

    Well then after 12, 1991, moved out to other places for studies and thus there came up one big hiatus for my 2 wheeler and 4 wheeler rides to back again in around 1990 when I returned back to Calcutta to start my Bullet rides again, sometimes solo, and of course the four-wheel drives came up in a big way as Safari VTT was bought in October 2007.

    Haven't even had to try out any other motorcycle till now! It has been a Royal Enfield always from class 8 and it still is now that I am 40 years old.

    Bullet Electra 2003 at Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 - 25 years of riding the Royal Enfield Bullet.
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    Having a growing interest in photography and being a little bit more serious about images how I click since November, Bihar - A Bullet ride to Sonepur Mela , particularly travel & documentary photography --- thought of covering the Maha Kumbh Mela though through a different perspective. Rather than staying in a hotel or a tourist camp at Kumbh Mela grounds, my plan was to embed myself directly with an ashram and along with the general atmosphere of the Mela, see and document also how the lesser known ashrams and the saints and sadhus spend their time in the Mela.

    I was staying with Paramarth Sadhak Sangha, a very low-key yet quite old ashram led by a 91-year-old yet delightful guruji, and thus documented and photographed many of the ashram's activities during my stay at the ashram.


    Paramarth Sadakh Sangh ashram's camp tents for the disciples who came, I was in the tent before where the Bullet is. Sharing the tent with 8 members, 3 families from Agartala, Tripura
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    The Wanderers.in

  2. #2
    Kolkata - Asansol - Prayag [Allahabad] - approx 900 km

    I had to two options, one, if can manage a 4 hour break in between work, start from Kolkata the previous day to my cousin sister's house in Asansol and stay there overnight, thus covering 240 km around and then heading off towards Allahabad the next day for the remaining 600 km run - but the big condition from wife is that I am never to ride after sundown on the highway - as much as I like to drive the Safari at night during the transport part of a travel, absolutely dislike myself also to ride motorcycle after sundown for a host of reasons.

    The other option was that if stuck in work, start from Kolkata at 4 am morning and cover the 900 km in a day, hoping to reach by 6 pm, before sundown.

    Anyway around lunch time I do manage a 4-5 hour break in work, and start from Kolkata around 1 pm and a flawless nonstop ride to Asansol, covering 240 km in 3 hrs and 30 mts, with a light jam at the Panagarh bottleneck. Early next morning, after a hearty breakfast, courtesy my cousin sister, start from Asansol just after 730 am, with the aim of reaching the Maha Kumbh Mela grounds before sundown.


    The chrome still shines and the engine still thumps without missing a beat - the last of the cast irons with left side brake and neutral finder - Around 1,44,000 km young Royal Enfield Bullet Electra
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    A short stop beyond Dhanbad for fresh sugarcane juice - sweeping sparse traffic highway of Jharkhand guarantee for a wonderful ride.
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    It was a pure Bullet ride, just a few short stops and hours on the saddle. Just the way a motorcycle ride should be. A final stop near Varanasi
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    Branched off the bypass highway around 5 pm, and into the Mela grounds by 6 pm just before sun down. Entered through Jhusi side, down the original GT road!
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    Found out the Paramarth Sadakh Ashram camp, located in Sector 9, soon was allocated the tent and a well deserved rest for the Bullet
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    The Wanderers.in

  3. #3
    The Bullet however stayed over there parked for 8 days I was there, only taken out on the last day, as I walked through the Mela grounds for photography, trying to cover this 20 sq km areas as possible.

    The huge riverbank tent city was divided into sectors or temporary districts with their own district magistrates. Having been there during the royal baths, I would consider the administration doing their best and having managed the Kumbh Mela very well.

    For a detail description, this article would give an idea of the huge management that had been there each and every day of the Mela - So how do you prepare for such a vast number of people converging on a site that is 20 sq km (4,932 acres) - and keep them warm, fed and safe?



    Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 photo essay - Images in no particular sequence



    A sadhu or holy man offers prayer during the holy dip of Maha Kumbh Mela.

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    A dhaki or drummer of an ashram during the evening aarti, Maha Kumbh Mela 2013

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    A naga sadhu of the Juna Akhara performing the evening aarti in front of his camp
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    Pilgrims pay obeisance as an akhara procession pass by
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    A priest does the ritual of sun worship after taking the holy dip at Sangam, Maha Kumbh Mela 2013.

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    Pilgrims line up to have glimpse as an akhara procession passes by
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    The Wanderers.in

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    Two young Naga sadhus - the first sadhu is just 10 years old.
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    A guruji with his disciples at Triveni Sangam of Maha Kumbh Mela 2013

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    Sadhus rejoice as they bath at the Sangam, Maha Kumbh Mela

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    Sadhus move back to their camp after a dip at the Triveni Sangam

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    Pilgrims pay obeisance as an akhara procession pass by

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    A sadhu or holy man of the Juna Akhara.
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  5. #5
    A sadhu or holy man gesticulates while taking the holy dip at Maha Kumbh Mela.Name:  Maha Kumbh Mela101.jpg
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    A sadhu or holy man on a shahi snan day [royal bath ], Maha Kumbh Mela 2013.
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    Sadhus move back to their camp after a dip at the Triveni Sangam

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    Two families along the River Ganges at Maha Kumbh Mela 2013
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    A sadhu smokes the chillum at the Maha Kumbh Mela.
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