Waking up early morning at 4 AM, I watched the spectacle unfold in my TV screen. DD was telecasting the first Shahi Snan ( Royal Bath ) from Simhasth Khumb, Mahapura at Ujjain, the city of Mahakal, also known as Avantiuri ( named after King Kartveeryarjun’s son Avanti) and Ujjaini. Other ancient names include Padmavati, Swarnashringa, Amravati , Vikrampuri ( capital of King Vikramditya) Pratikalpa, Kumudvati and Churmani.
The celestial lineup of planets occurring every 12 years is in place. The planet Sun is in Mesh (Aries) and Brahaspati ( Jupiter) in Simha ( Leo) zodiac sign. The Kumbhortunity welcomes you at Ujjain where the tropic of cancer passes, also called the ‘Greenwich Mean time of India’.
If I know you well enough, I am sure that your connect with this Kumbhortunity will be at an arms length. You will watch it unfold through the eyes of the news channel cameraman and discover it on newspaper pages. You will miss one of the largest spiritual gatherings on earth. You will miss being at one of the holiest places in the world at the right time. It is said in Puranas that Kurukshetra is ten times more sacred than Prayag, Kashi is ten times holier than Prayag, Gaya is ten times holier than Kashi and Ujjain is 10 times holier than Gaya.
You will miss the holy dip that is equated to thousands of Ashwamedh Yahya ( Horse Sacrifice), Hundreds of Vajpaya Yagya ( Fire sacrifice) and lakhs of journey around the world. You will miss taking a dip on the banks of holy river Kshipra. The river that originates from the womb of earth and not any mountain. Kshipra is the only uttargami river traveling straight from south to north. The river in which spilled few drops of Amrit ( Nector – found during Samudra manthan) during the conflict between God and Demons.
You will miss the sight of thirteen Akharas ( Sadhu ) coming here. And you will miss the spiritual, religious and cultural grandeur that Kumbhortunity is.
It will be like any other Khumbh you have missed, experiencing the great gathering. Watch culture and religion at peak. Watch events are being managed. Learn from processes, discipline and unavoidable chaos. You will miss meeting people, sharing stories, learning from incidences and episodes that are bound to be lifetime memories. You will miss seeing how brands try exploiting this, how services get affected and again reinstated. How things happen where we believe systems do not exist. You will be pressed for time. You may hate the traffic. You will learn to avoid, adapt and move. Even a simple journey fr the holy dip without any detailed observation will teach you movement planning and stress management.
You will have time later to relive the experience and emotions in your mind and create your own learning. You will see how the spectrum of divided religion joins together cutting across geographical and language boundaries. You will be at a place to watch the basic human behaviour and reactions.
You will watch how the media is interacting and being consumed. You will experience. How digital is digital India. You will confront the real realities that the common man faces. You may find opportunities to hear stories and share his pie of happiness or sorrow.
Can you think any place else can give you this high intensity of experience?
So why miss the opportunity, the clients and the agencies; all of them, the creative, media, OOH, BTL- send your teams for this experience. Capture a slice of the nation for which you have been peddling your talent.
Catch it right there. Create an experience schedule and do it now.
On the other hand- on a personal note, you still have time for the dip and visit the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga. Other dates for auspicious dips are 3rd May (Vratparv Varuthini Ekadashi), 6th May (Vaishakh Krishna Amavasya), 9th May (second Shahi Snan), 11th May (Shankracharya Jayanti), 15th May (Vrishabh Sankranti) , 17th May (Mohini Ekadashi), 19th May (Pradosh), 20th May (Nursingh Jayanti ) and 21st May (the third Shahi Snan). As for travel- it is simple. Indore ( 55KM) is the nearest Aiprort ( Bhopal is 172 Km ) and is well connected with Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Nagpur and Bhopal. Ujjain is a major junction and uniquely placed with connections to all parts of India.
And if you are going to be there- see if you watch Bhasma Aarti at Mahakal, Visit the Kal Bhairava temple, See the new Iskon temple, Bharitihari caves and Chintan Ganesh.
First published in Marketing Buzzar