Naga Sadhus at Kumbh Mela 2013
Naga Sadhus are a group of saints who come out of their above which is in the Himalayan Caves only during KumbhMela festival, never seen in the cities or villages otherwise, while they participate in the KumbhMela fair, they are peculiar and distinct from others, dabbed in ashes all over their body, the climax of it being their stark nakedness, which is very uncommon even among saints and those who are withdrawn from worldly practices.
The Naga Sadhus are said to follow unique features of Lord Shiva, one of the Hindu Deities of Trinity , holding tridents as He would do, crowned with human skulls, their skin smeared with ashes of thick layers, bridling their long hair in coiled and matted form along the head, with their bare bodies exposed during such a biting cold climate, people say that they smoke Marijuana through a pipe called Chillum or Shiv Muli, with a claim that with that they tend to avoid the distraction worldly influences, yet maintaining self-control although in the intoxicated state throughout, while those in advanced stage of ispiritual life renouncing intoxication too.
The Naga Sadhus are said to have been totally withdrawn from the materialistic world, practicing celibacy to escape from the mortal cycleof birth and death, aiming at total salvation, who were established by Dattatreya during ancient times, it was Shankaracharya who brought in Nagas to the spiritual journey to protect Sanatan Dharma, which is now practiced as Hinduism.
The dwelling place of Naga Sadhus is called ‘Akharas’ while those who belong to ‘Akhara’ society are supposed to be warriors of both intellectual and physical fight, forming part of a mysterious and secret society worshipping Lord Shiva, the term Nag depicting ‘naked’ therefore known as Nag Babas or Warrior-Ascetics, rarely making their appearance in public , while KumbhMela happening to be one of those rare entries to public events.
Nag Babas appear as warriors, dividing themselves into regiments as in an army, never fearing death, any insult or entrage to them would put one into severe danger, all of them equipped with tridents, swords, sticks , conch shells and few other weapons, sometimes carrying some kind of musical instruments.
Naga Sadhus are often misunderstood as a farce by the media of western orientation, while they claim to be the epitome of renunciation, least caring for the opinions and comments on their nakedness, ash smeared body and all the attributes that Lord Shiva was following without minding the mundane world’s expectations.