Journals Higher Education
Important OUP's Response to COVID-19 Learn more



Published: 29 August 2008

360 Pages

ISBN: 9780195338942

Also Available As:


Also Available In:

Bookseller Code (06)

Pilgrimage and Power

The Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, 1765-1954

Kama Maclean

Today the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India, is not merely a major Hindu religious pilgrimage but the largest religious gathering in the world. In an impressive feat of organization and administration, the first mela of the new millennium was managed to the overwhelming satisfaction of most, with an impressive health and safety record.

The loudest complaint had to do with the intrusive presence of the media. Journalists, largely representing foreign media outlets, had swarmed to the mela, intent on broadcasting to a global audience sensational images of naked (or wet sari- clad) Indians taking part in "ancient" religious rituals. Resistance to foreign interference with the mela has roots that go back 200 years. In this book Kama Maclean explores the role of a pilgrimage fair like the Kumbh Mela in disseminating ideas, particularly political ones like nationalism and ideas about social reform.

Also of Interest

Related Categories

Arts & Humanities > Religion > Hinduism