Information About Kumbh Mela



Kumbh Mela



Kumbh Mela is the largest fair held in India. It is a mass Hindu pilgrimage where Hindus gather in large numbers and take bath in a sacred river. This is the biggest event for the Hindu community that is held every fourth year at four different places. Not only Hindus from India but a large number of tourists, pilgrims and foreign nationals take part in this event. Sages and ascetics dressed in saffron attires attend the Kumbh Mela in great deal. The mela is celebrated at four different places - the banks of the Godavari River in Nashik, the Ganges River in Haridwar, the Kshipra (Shipra) River in Ujjain, and the Sangam River of the Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati in Allahabad (earlier known as Prayag).

History of Kumbh Mela



There is no clear evidence why people started organising Kumbh Mela. However, there is a mythological story that kick-started this event. The story goes like this:

The demigods once lost their strength due to the curse of Durvasa Muni. To regain their strength, they approached Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva who advised them to pray to Lord Vishnu, who instructed them to churn Ksheera Sagara (Ocean of Milk) to get the Amrit (Nectar of Immortality). As the demigods had lost their strengths, it became sturdy for them to take up this task alone. In order to complete this task, they went into a mutual agreement with the demons and to share half of the nectar of immortality.

The Mandara Mountain was used as a churning rod. At first, a pot of deadly poison was produced, which was drunk by Lord Shiva. When the Kumbh (pot) of the immortal nectar appeared, the demigods, fearing the ill intents of the devils, seized the pot. Learning that their part of the agreement has not been kept, the demons went after the demigods and the chase continued for 12 days and 12 nights. While the demigods were hiding and running, the nectar from the pot fell at four different places - Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik and Ujjain. Since then, it has been believed that these places posses mystical powers and hence Kumbh Mela is celebrated at these places. As 12 days of gods is equivalent to 12 years of human beings, it is celebrated after every 12 years at these holy places.

Types of Kumbh Melas



There are five types of Kumbh Melas that are held in India:

Maha Kumbh Mela: Maha Kumbh Mela is considered to be once in a lifetime occasion for Hindus. Periodically, Maha Kumbh Mela comes in every 144 years or after 12 Purna Kumbh Melas. It is only held in Prayag (Allahabad). The Maha Kumbh is attended by millions of devotees who take a dip at the holy water. As per a legend, Lord Brahma has once proclaimed that taking a bath or dip in the holy water of the Ganges will liberate humans from their sins. Hindus also believe that a bath in the Ganges, especially during Maha Kumbh, can purge them and their ancestors back to eighty-eighth generations from all evils and sins. The last Maha Kumbh was held in 2013 and the next will be held after 144 years.

Purna Kumbh Mela: This Kumbh Mela is held after every 12 years in Allahabad. Large numbers of pilgrims take bath in the holy Sangam. This auspicious fair is organised at a great level attended by millions of pilgrims. The last Purna Kumbh Mela was held in 2013.

Ardh Kumbh Mela: In Hindi, 'Ardh' means 'half' and 'Mela' means 'fair'. The fair is also known as Ardh Kumbh as it is celebrated after every six years. It marks the halfway stage between the celebrations of the Purna Kumbh Melas every 12 years. The Ardh Kumbh is organised in only Allahabad and Haridwar. The next Ardh Kumbh Mela will be held in 2016 in Haridwar.

Kumbh Mela: Kumbh Mela is held at four different places - Ujjain, Allahabad, Nashik and Haridwar. Kumbh Mela is organised at a large scale and millions of devotees attend the event and take the holy bath. The planetary positions of the sun and Jupiter decide when and in which city Kumbh Mela is to be celebrated.

Magh (Kumbh) Mela: The Magh Kumbh holds importance for the Hindus as they believe the origin of the Magh Mela as the creation of the Universe. This mela is organised every year on the banks of the Triveni Sangam (confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the Saraswati) in Prayag, Allahabad. As its name suggests, it is organised in the month magh of the Hindu calendar.

  • Haridwar - When the sun is in Aries and Jupiter is in Aquarius during the Hindu month of Chaitra.
  • Allahabad (Prayaga) - When the sun and the moon are in Capricorn and Jupiter is in Aries during the Hindu month of Magha.
  • Nashik - When the sun and Jupiter are in Leo during the month of Bhadrapda.
  • Ujjain - When Jupiter is in Leo and the sun is in Aries, or when Jupiter, the sun and the moon are in Libra during the month of Vaisakha.

Rituals



The main ritual of the event is bathing on the banks of the holy river in the city. Other activities involved are religious discussions, mass feeding of holy men and women and the poor, singing devotional songs and holding religious assemblies. People visit Kumbh Mela in large number so as to experience the religious and the secular aspects of this mega event. The Sadhus come here so as to make themselves available for the large mass of Hindus whom they can instruct and advice over spiritual life. Camps are organised in Kumbh Melas, so that the Hindu devotees can access these Sadhus. Seeing the Sadhus is very carefully managed during the event.

Kumbh Mela 2015 Dates



The Kumbh Mela 2015 is organised in Nashik. Following are the dates for important and auspicious events:

DateDayEvent
14/07/15TuesdayFlag hoisting of the main ceremony at Ram Kunda
14/08/15FridayFlag hoisting of the Akhara at Sadhugram
26/08/15WednesdayShravan Shudha - First Snana
29/08/15SaturdayShravan Purnima - First Shai Snana at Ram Kunda
13/09/15SundayBhadrapada Amavasya - Second Shahi Snana (main bathing day)
18/09/15FridayBhadrapada Shukla Panchami - Third Shahi Snana
25/09/15FridayBhadrapada Shukla Dwadashi - Vaman Dwadashi Snana


Kumbh Mela 2016 Dates



Kumbh Mela will be organised in Ujjain in 2016. Following are the important dates for auspicious events to be held:

DateDayEvent
22/04/16FridayFirst Snana
06/05/16FridayVaisakh Krishna Amavasya
11/05/16WednesdayShukla/Akshaya Tritiya
17/05/16TuesdayEkadashi and Pradosh Snana
21/05/16SaturdayPurnima (Main Snana)


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Last Updated on : July 20, 2015



     


     

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