Kumbh Mela 2019

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:

  • Maha Kumbh Mela (The Great Kumbh Fair): Maha Kumbh Mela is considered to be once in a lifetime occasion for Hindus. Periodically, Maha Kumbh Mela comes every 144 years or after 12 Purna Kumbh Melas.
  • The Kumbh Mela, also Purna Kumbh Mela (Full Kumbh Fair): This Kumbh Mela is held after every 12 years in Allahabad. Large numbers of pilgrims take bath in the holy Sangam.
  • Ardh Kumbh Mela (Half Kumbh Fair): 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. It is held in Allahabad or in Haridwar.

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
Video source: Madhya Pradesh Tourism
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