Kumbh Mela is a mega event
that is organized four times in every twelve years in India. The
festivity has truly come into the limelight and acquired fame not just
in India, but made its presence felt even abroad. The celebration of Kumbh Mela takes places at four different places, namely Prayag (Allahabad),
Ujjain, Haridwar and Nasik. Maha Kumbh mela, also known as the great
Kumbh mela, is held only once in twelve years in Allahabad.
Millions of devotees come from all across the country to witness this
distinguished festivity. The credit for initiating the Kumbha Mela
festivity can be attributed to the King Harshvardhana of Ujjain, who
took it as an opportunity to make donations to help the poor and needy
and to strengthen the faith of people of all religions in the divine
Timings of Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela is a sacred
Hindu pilgrimage and bathing festival that takes place at the
following 4 locations of India:
Prayag (near the city of
Allahabad, in the state of Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of three
rivers Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and mythical Saraswati.
Haridwar (in the state of
Uttaranchal Pradesh) where the river Ganga enters the plains from
Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh),
on the banks of Kshipra river.
Nasik (in Maharashtra) on
the banks of Godavari river.
Bathing at Kumbh
Holy Snan (bathing) or
bathing in the river Ganges is of great importance. It is believed
that it washes away all the sins and the cycle of rebirth and death
ends as the soul becomes one with God Almighty.
Below are listed the auspicious holy bathing dates at the Kumbh Mela.
On the main bathing dates there will be a colorful, magnificent
Procession of radiant saints on chariots and elephants at sunrise. As
the saints pass by, they impart blesings of divine grace to all the
people. Then the glorious saints took their dip (shahi snan) in the
Holy River Ganges. This takes place according to tradition, each group
proceeding to the river and then bathing in a particular sequence.
After all these groups have bathed, then all other people will take
their turn to march to the Ganges for their bath.
The basic point of the
Kumbh Mela is for pilgrims to bathe at certain sacred spots on certain
auspicious days. A large tented city is erected and pilgrims stay at
tents owned by Pandas (religious and spiritual guides) and at various
ashrams and hotels. Others will just camp on the ground or visit for
the actual bathing day. Some of these bathing days are designated
"royal." On all the major bathing dates, the naga sadhus (naked
mendicants) will parade and bathe. On all other days there will still
be people bathing, other events, and random Processions.
Paush Purnima - January 27,
Ekadashi Snan - February 6, 2013
Mauni Amavasya Snan - February 10, 2013 (important date)
Basant Panchami Snan - February 15, 2013
Rath Saptami Snan - February 17, 2013
Bhishma Ekadasi Snan - February 18, 2013
Maghi Purnima Snan - February 25, 2013
Darshan of Saints
Wave upon wave of bliss.
The darshan - the blesings - of all the magnificent saints and yogis
who come out of their Himalayan caves only once very 12 years in order
to bles the people. This is the Kumbh Mela ("the festival of the pot
of nectar - amrit kalash - of immortality"). A once in a lifetime,
The Procession of Holy
To watch the Kumbh Mela
Processions is to witness the march of the ages. As the holy saints
pass by on their various and sundry conveyances - elephants, horses,
palanquins, chariots, cars, and camels - they are continually
transmitting waves of powerful shakti (energy) to all the people who
witness this awe-inspiring and most auspicious event. Devotees are
overwhelmed by the palpable spiritual vibrations that pervade the
While the parade of saints marches towards the Ganges River, the
sounds baffle all description - the shout and cries of ash-smeared
sadhus mingle with the neighing of horses, trumpeting of elephants,
grunting of camels, bellowing of bulls. Gongs and drums beat, trumpets
blare, conch shells blow and bells ring. In the midst of this
cacophony, musicians and dancers perform.
Kumbh Mela: This unique
event blends religious and cultural features alike. With the entire
atmosphere saturated with chiming bells, incense and flower fragrance,
Vedic hymns, mantras, beating of drums on horses, camels, and
elephants during the Processions of naga (naked) sadhus from different
akhadas (orders) in their gold and silver chariots being pulled by
devotees, as they show their strength and skills - pure enchantment
for the soul.
Kumbh Fair is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the lucky ones. The
crowd and confusion of buyers and sellers, the native groups in every
imaginable costume. Some shine in cloths of gold, surounded by
followers splendidly aranged, others are les expensively but
picturesquely dresed, and many are half or full naked or wildly clad.
The melange of priests, soldiers, religious mendicants, half
beggars-half bandits, with a smattering of Europeans, exhibit all
together an exotic display - unique in all the world.
Mythological legends say
that at the begining of creation, all the Gods were under a curse that
made them weak and cowardly. Brahma, the creator God, advised them to
retrieve the Kumbh (pot) containing the nectar of immortality (amrit).
The gods sought help from the demons, and together they churned the
primordial ocean to bring up the nectar.
As Dhanvantari, the divine healer, appeared with the "Kumbh"
containing nectar in his palms, a great fight ensued between the Gods
and demons to wrest the pitcher. During the fierce battle in the sky,
a few drops of nectar fell in four different places: Allahabad (Prayag),
Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain.
Since then, when the planets align in the same position, pilgrims and
devotees converge to commemorate this divine event. Purna (Full) Kumbh
Mela takes place every three years in rotation in the four sacred
places. Therefore Kumbh Mela in each location takes place every
twelfth year. The Ardh Kumbh Mela takes place in the sixth year
between Kumbh Melas.
In the four holy places Purna Kumbh Mela takes place at an interval of
twelve years coinciding with one round of Jupiter through the zodiac.
The Religious Importance
The festival is religiously most important for the Hindus. At every
Kumbh occasion, millions of Hindus take part in the celebrations.
During 2001 Kumbh at Allahabad, more than 35 million devotees gathered
at the site. Saints, priests, and yogis from all corners of India,
gather to participate in Kumbh. Of all the places, Allahabad is the
most sacred place and is the site for the Maha Kumbh Mela (The Grand
The festival is visited by the most amazing saints from all across
India. The Naga Sadhus are one such, who never any cloth and are
smeared in ash. They have long matted hairs and are not at all
affected by the extremes of heat and cold. Then there are the
Urdhwavahurs, who believe in putting the body through severe
austerities. There are the Parivajakas, who have taken a vow of
silence and go about tinkling little bells to get people out of their
way. The Shirshasins stand all 24 hours and meditate for hours
standing on their heads. Spending the entire month of Kumbh on the
banks of Ganga, meditating, performing rituals and bathing thrice a
day, are the Kalpvasis.
It is believed that bathing during Kumbh cures the bather of all sins
and evils and grants the bather, salvation. It is also believed that
at the time of Kumbh Yog, the water of Sangam (confluence of rivers at
Allahabad) is charged with positive healing effects and that water at
the time of Kumbh is charged positively by enhanced electromagnetic
radiations of the Sun, Moon and the Jupiter, the flux of which also
varies in accordance to positions and the phases of the moon, and also
by the + and - signs of the sun spots. As per Puranas (Hindu Scripts)
properties of river water at Allahabad has been referred to as Amrit