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Maha Kumbha Mela 2013 - Fairs and Festivals in India

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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 power.

 

Maha Kumbha Mela 1013 at Allahabad - Fairs and Festivals in India

 

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 Himalayas.

  • Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), on the banks of Kshipra river.

  • Nasik (in Maharashtra) on the banks of Godavari river.

Maha Kumbha Mela 1013 at Allahabad - Fairs and Festivals in India

 

Bathing at Kumbh Festival

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.

 

Main Bathing Dates

  • Paush Purnima - January 27, 2013

  • 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

Maha Kumbha Mela 1013 at Allahabad - Fairs and Festivals in India

 

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, unforgettable event!

 

The Procession of Holy Saints

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 entire atmosphere.

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.

 

Maha Kumbha Mela 1013 at Allahabad - Fairs and Festivals in India

 

The Atmosphere

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.

 

Maha Kumbha Mela 1013 at Allahabad - Fairs and Festivals in India

 

The Legend

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.

 

Maha Kumbha Mela 1013 at Allahabad - Fairs and Festivals in India

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 Kumbh Fair).

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 or elexir.
 

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Fairs & Festivals in India

Buddha Purnima
Durga Pooja Navratra
Vijayadashmi
Holi - Festival of Colors
Teej - Festival of Women
Elephant Festival
Onam in Kerala
Kumbha Mela
Deepawali - Festival of Lights
Gangaur in Jaipur
Makar Sankranti
Pushkar Camel Fair
Nagaur Cattle Fair
Summer Festival in Mount Abu
Jaisalmer Desert Festival
International Kite Festival
Pongal Festival
Magh Bihu Festival
Mamallapuram Festival
Kolkata Festival
Modhera Dance Festival in Gujarat
Bikaner Camel Festival
Baneshwar Fair
Taj Mahotsav - Agra
Konark Festival in Orissa
Khajuraho Dance Festival
Khatushyam Ji Fair
Rangoli Bihu in Assam
Champakulam Boat Race in Kerala
Guru Purnima
Amarnath Yatra
Ganesh Chaturthi
Independence Day
Raksha Bandhan
Janmashtami
Nehru Trophy Boat Race in Alleppey, Kerala
Ganga Mahotsav
Chandrabhaga Fair
Christmas
Chennai Dance Festival
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