The Allahabad campus is the Himalayan Institute’s flagship educational center in India. Situated on the banks of the Ganga River, the 30-acre campus hosts international conferences, yoga teacher trainings, and spiritual excursions while also providing humanitarian support for neighboring villages.
The Maha Kumbha Mela of 2001
The Himalayan Institute purchased the campus in order to host over 500 guests from around the world for the Maha Kumbha Mela of 2001. The Kumbha Mela is a spiritual gathering that occurs at the confluence of three sacred rivers—the Ganga, the Yamuna and the Saraswati (a mystical, hidden river). Millions gather to bathe at the joining of these rivers in Allahabad. The Institute’s campus is located on the banks of the Ganga, just a boat ride away from where the Kumbha Mela takes place.
Transforming the Campus
At the time it was purchased, the campus was deserted and barren, so a massive reforestation effort was undertaken to revitalize the land. Today, the land has been transformed into a lush retreat center with abundant vegetation. Trees that were planted as seedlings are now 30 feet high with thick, strong trucks. There are vegetable gardens that feed visitors and staff and beautiful flower gardens to stroll. The new plant growth has encouraged the return of wild animals, including nilgai, jackals, porcupines, iguanas, and a wide variety of birds. The campus is equipped with a large main building for dining and lectures, and temporary eco-huts are constructed when the campus hosts a large group of visitors. There is also a Sacred Grove of ancient trees with a Havan Kund for Vedic fire rituals.
Humanitarian Outreach and Education
To fulfill the Himalayan Institute’s humanitarian mission of rural empowerment, the Allahabad campus serves the surrounding community and neighboring villages in several ways:
- Installation of hand-pumps for clean drinking water
- Local job creation with employment opportunities at the campus
- Educational support for local village children and schools
- Oversight of the Himalayan Institute’s school projects in north India
- Energy Farming Research and Development
In 2006, the first pongamia trees were planted at the Allahabad campus in preparation for the 2007 Energy Farming Conference hosted on campus. Since then the site has served as a research and development laboratory for the Energy Farming projects. A variety of medicinal and biofuel crops have been planted for demonstration and to research best practices for cultivation. Medicinal crops such as turmeric and ginger are planted alongside pongamia and castor, and honey bee hives help to pollinate the aromatic herbs and flowers. These herbs are important components in Total Health formulations, and are being cultivated on a larger scale at the Institute’s Energy Farming program in Cameroon, Africa. By growing a sustainable source of natural medicine, Energy Farming creates jobs for both the growers and the distributors. In addition, Energy Farming techniques such as advanced composting, crown grafting, and micro-rainwater harvesting are showcased to help share this knowledge with local farmers.
The Next Kumbha Mela
The Kumbha Mela of 2013 is quickly approaching and HI India will be hosting another grand celebration at the Allahabad campus!