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Volunteering through Devotion: India’s Purna Kumbh Mela Celebration

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While living in India, Israeli citizen Yael Caplin experienced the Purna Kumbh Mela - a remarkable religious gathering that takes place in Haridwar, where the Ganges enters the Northern plains of India from the Himalayas.  Every 12 years, from mid-January to the end of April, the city turns into what some believe is the world’s largest religious congregation. It is estimated that a total of 40 million pilgrims bathed in the Ganges at Haridwar during the three-month celebration in 2010.

Apart from the sheer magnitude of the event, the Purna Kumbh Meia is an extraordinary example of volunteers in action. In this article, Caplin shares her personal observations as she describes the unique volunteering experience she witnessed.