Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler: Kumbh Mela

About This Episode


Every twelve years, tens of millions of men, women and children gather in Allahabad, India, for the largest gathering of humanity for religious purposes, and host Bruce Feiler is there. This is the Kumbh Mela, the Hindu festival where pilgrims come from around the world, to bathe in the water where two sacred rivers meet. At least 100 million people will attend what Hindu astrologers have declared as the most auspicious Kumbh Mela in 144 years.

Bruce travels with a group of spiritual seekers to take part in traditional rituals on the Ganges, India’s most sacred river. The group settles into the Mela tent city, surrounded by millions of other pilgrims, holy men, gurus and ash-covered Naga babas. After surviving an out-of-season monsoon that floods much of the camp, Bruce and the American pilgrims meet with some of India’s leading spiritual gurus. They also join in the ‘holy dip’ at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers in a ritual that Hindus believe washes away sins and breaks the endless cycle of reincarnation.

Sacred Journeys with Bruce Feiler is an unprecedented journey to the world’s most meaningful landscapes and rigorous religious pilgrimages. The series presents a comprehensive picture of the practice of pilgrimage in its varied expressions around the globe, over thousands of years.