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Kalpavasi at Kumbh Mela - People Who Stay During Entire Period of Magh and Kumbh Mela

With Naga Sadhus returning to their respective ashrams, the media has lost interest in Kumbh Mela. But thousands of people are still visiting the Sangam and then there are thousands of Kalpavasis – who reside for the entire period of Kumbh Mela at the Sangam. A Kalpavasi takes dip at the Sangam on all the days.

A Kalp is the total years in the four yugas - Satyug, Treta, Dwapar and Kalyug. This adds up to several millions of years. When a devotee performs Kalpavas, he/she overcomes the sins in earlier birth and escapes from the numerous rebirths.

The Kalpavasis arrive each year during the Magh month and spend the entire month in prayer at the Sangam. There are Kalpavasis who only take part during Kumbh Melas. They stay in makeshift houses or tents at the Sangam. Some avoid even the luxury of a cover over their head. Kalpavasi takes dip at the Ganges on sunrise and most of them take only a meal a day.

A Kalpavasi performs Shayya Daan after completing 12 Kalpavas. Shayya Daan means ‘donating your bed.’ A person performing Shayya Daan donates all his belongings. Some believe it is like performing the last rites even though the person is alive.