Kumbh Mela is the biggest religious and spiritual gathering in history, anywhere in the world. The crowd is so massive that it is visible from space. A crowd of over 100 million with one strong intention: bathing in the sacred river to wash away sins and gain a chance at a new beginning. Kumbh Mela has also been inscribed by the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The city of Allahabad is the site of the Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019, starting from 15th January, 2019, until 4th March, 2019. This much awaited sacred fair sees millions of Hindu pilgrims converge at Sangam - the confluence of three sacred Indian rivers in Allahabad – the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati.
The Kumbh Mela festival has been a case of research for many institutions including the prestigious Harvard University. The event has also been documented by many foreign media and channels including the likes of the National Geographic. No wonder it has thus become a matter of curiosity amongst the foreign travelers too.
Believed to have started in the first millennium CE, the Kumbh Mela has become the largest public gathering in the world. Today, it draws millions of pilgrims over the course of a few weeks.
Kumbh Mela is held at one of the four different places in India by rotation - Ujjain, Allahabad, Nashik and Haridwar, based on the planetary positions according to the Hindu astrological calendar.
There are four types of Kumbh Mela that are held; as follows:
Rituals of Kumbh Mela
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 from India as well as around the world visit Kumbh Mela in large number so as to experience the religious and the secular aspects of this one-of-a-kind mega event. The Sadhus (Hindu monks) come here to make themselves available to instruct and advice large mass of Hindus over spiritual life. Camps are organised in Kumbh Melas.
Historical legends behind the Kumbh Mela
If the legends are to be believed then during the waging war between the Gods & Demons for the possession of elixir of eternal life, few drops of it had fallen on to four places that are today known as Allahabad( formerly) Prayag, Nashik, Haridwar and Ujjain. It is also believed that due to the drops these places also gained mystical powers.
Bathing Dates of Kumbh Mela-2019
|Makar Sankranti (1st Shahi Snan/Royal Bath)||15 January 2019|
|Paush Purnima||21 January 2019|
|Mauni Amavasya (Main Royal Bath 2nd Shahi Snan)||04 February 2019|
|Basant Panchami (3rd Shahi Snan/Royal Bath)||10 February 2019|
|Maghi Poornima||19 February 2019|
|Maha Shivratri||04 March 2019|
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