I learned at university that the Kumbh Mela is the largest gathering of people ever and that it occurs once every 12 years. I know it rotates between four cities meaning there is a Kumbh Mela somewhere every three years. I know Hindus from all over gather there to be cleansed in the river. But, I don't know why this is preferred to being cleansed in the river at other times.

I have wanted to attend for at least a decade, but I would have been a tourist, so it was probably okay that I couldn't go. I don't foresee a way to attend any time soon, so these questions are hypothetical for now.

Mostly I want to know four things:

  • Is it okay to attend as a white, American woman? (This is specific to me, but feel free to answer generally as well.)
  • How should I prepare before attending—both spiritually (What knowledge should I have? Do I need to be initiated into a particular sect of Hinduism?) and on the mundane level (Should I bring toiletries? Can I buy food there or should I prepare meals to bring along? What clothes are decent? What should I avoid bringing? Do I need to be concerned about theft? Do I need to know another language to understand the speakers or will English suffice?)?
  • What can I expect to learn that cannot be learned through personal practice?
  • What events are there and which are most important to attend?
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    I had attend 2016 Ujjain kumbh mela. Took dip there. Its crowded, being Westerner I feel you won't be comfortable there. Better to have a company of a trustworthy Indian when you visit the Kumbh Mela. – Mr. Sigma. Apr 13 '18 at 16:40
  • @Rohit. Do you mean I won't be comfortable with the crowds? Or do you mean I won't be welcomed? Or simply that I won't fit in? Since you attended before, can you tell me why/how that dip was better than normal? – Rubellite Yakṣī Apr 22 '18 at 18:51
  • You would be uncomfortable because of crowd + seeing weird people. Don't know due to dip or something else, after that I started understood many things which I didn't before. – Mr. Sigma. Apr 23 '18 at 1:18
  • I see. Good thing I'm not a normal American 😆 "Weird" intrigues me. So, would it be safe to say the spiritual energy is very highly concentrated at Kumbh Mela? – Rubellite Yakṣī Apr 23 '18 at 11:56
  • I don't know whether spiritual energies are concentrated or not there. But I think you should definitely visit (with some indian friends) there. – Mr. Sigma. Apr 23 '18 at 16:12

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