Standing as a beautiful amalgamation of centuries of history, the Kumbh Mela is a crucial part of India’s treasured heritage. It features in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, rightly so. Millions of people from across the world come and be a part of this grand gala.
Kumbh mela has been declared one of the world’s largest peaceful gathering, and possibly, the “world’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims”. This year, the grand mela will commence from mid-January, all the way till March, in the holy city of Prayagraj. It is expected to draw countless devotees and spectators to the city.
Here’s a quick guidebook into the Kumbh Mela, read on!
History of Kumbh Mela
There is a certain degree of confusion regarding the origin of Kumbh ka mela. Some believe its first-ever record can be found in 644 CE, given by Xuanzang, a Chinese traveller. However, his account does not include the name “Kumbh” and mentions a mela that takes place once every five years, not twelve.
A proper mention of the grand event is present in records like Chahar Gulshan (1759 CE), Khulasat-ut-Tawarikh (1695 CE), both including the name “Kumbh Mela”. They talk about the Kumbh Mela organised in the city of Haridwar, while also having accounts of similar melas organised in Nashik and Prayag.
Where is Kumbh Mela celebrated?
Over time, numerous fairs have claimed to be the traditional Kumbh Mela. However, there are four largely accepted, historical spots for the holy event- Haridwar, Prayag (Allahabad), Trimbak-Nashin, and Ujjain. Of these, Haridwar is believed to be the oldest site by many.
Devotees come and bathe themselves in the holy river, with the traditional belief that their sins will be washed away alongside.
Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019
In 2019, the Ardh Kumbh Mela will take place in the historical city of Prayagraj. The fair is expected to attract a large number of people to the holy site. Below are the salient features of the grand gala:
a. According to reports, the Uttar Pradesh government will be allocating a sum of Rs 2500 crore to the fair.
b. Over Rs 60 crore will be spent to make sure the site of “Kumbh” has proper electricity arrangements, and Rs 210 crore on providing drinking water.
c. Train 18: A major highlight of the Kumbh Mela is Train 18, which will run between Delhi and Varanasi. Having an impressive speed of 130 kmph, the train has been planned to commence operations ahead of the Kumbh Mela.
d. The fair itself will be one of its kind, with multiple features.
e. A total of five pandals have been set up, showcasing different culturally rich folk art, musical performances etc.
f. Laser night shows, ferry rides, tourist walks etc will be a few among the endless things to look out for.
The Kumbh Mela is a grand celebration of the country’s heritage and has been around for centuries. It will then, no doubt spark the curiosity of many, with millions of people arriving in the holy city to catch a glimpse. Curious? Maybe you should go, soak in the experience yourself.