It was a tough journey for 84-year-old Kantabai Nagar, but she finally made it. Despite her stoop, an undeterred Kantabai came all the way from Tirupati Nagar, Indore, to be a part of the Simhasth Kumbh Mela and bathe in the Shipra river.
However, she was not alone. Her centenarian husband, Ram Chander Nagar, also accompanied her to participate in this spiritual carnival.
The ongoing Simhasth Kumbh Mela attracts thousands like Kantabai. Irrespective of age, many throng to Ujjain to keep alive the tradition of bathing in the holy Shipra during Kumbh Mela, which is to end on 21 May.
Over a period of time, this mela has become an arena of devotion meeting tradition. Harilal Choudhary and Tulsiram Mandloi of Polai Kala, Shajapur District, are among those who have managed to keep these traditions alive. The last time they bathed in the Shipra was with their grand parents in 1968.
Choudhary believes that the Kumbh Mela has undergone tremendous changes. This year, he says, the facilities at the mela have increased and improved greatly upon what they used to be a few years ago.
About 10,000 inhabitants of his village have bathed in the Shipra on various occasions. It is their fifth visit to the Kumbh Mela, which occurs once in 12 years. They have brought along their grandchildren to Ramghat to bathe in the holy river. They hope their grandchildren will pass on this ritual to their future generations.
Kantabai lives by this tradition and has passed it on to her children.
I believe in the traditions of our time. My son Babulal Naagar and his wife Nirmala Naagar both respect my views and follow the same. Kantabai