Naga Babas of Juna Akhara Shahi Snan at Ujjain Kumbh Mela 2016
In this Kumbh Mela video, Baba Rampuri and Baba Mangalanand Puri (aka Goa Gil) take you inside of the procession of the Naga Babas of Juna Akhara to the Shahi Snan, the Royal Sacred Bath, highlighting the Simhastha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain. The devata of Juna Akhara, Guru Dattatreya, is accompanied by the sadhus on a three and a half kilometer walk in the midst of 15 million pilgrims. When they reach the bathing ghat, they are joined by the Pir of Datt Akhara who rides an elephant. The Pir, Paramanand Puri Ji Maharaj, wears a black cloak, typical of pirs. He wears this on top of the normal saffron cloth worn by sannyasis. This signifies that he is not only a major religious leader of the Hindus of the Sanatan Dharma, but is revered by many Muslims as well.
Shri Maharaj Macchendar Puri leads the way for the deity Guru Dattatreya, and perhaps is the only human alive who can manage to control the ecstatic, overjubilant, and rowdy horde of 25,000 Naga Sadhus. He is shown bathing the bhala, the sacred spear, in the River Kshipra.
The purohits of Juna Akhara are joined by some of the senior members of the akhara and bathe Guru Dattatreya in the river. Shailendra Vedika, the head Purohit of all seven akharas, sprinkles the waters of the River Kshipra over the Pir, and then fragrant oils, as is the tradition of Pirs.
This was definitely a Kumbh Mela to remember.
For more on Naga Babas and Kumbh Mela, please have a look at my book, Autobiography of a Sadhu – an Angrez among Naga Babas.