Hindu Of Universe

“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”

Kumbh Mela is a large spiritual gathering of Hindu devotees that occurs four separate times in a repeating cycle of twelve years.

It rotates between four locations on the banks of four different sacred rivers:

  • Nashik, on the Godavari River
  • Ujjain, on the Shipra River
  • Haridwar, on the Ganges River
  • Allahabad, at the meeting point of the Ganges, Yamuna, and Sarasvati rivers

The Ardha Kumbh Mela (half Kumbh Mela) is held roughly every six years at either Haridwar or Allahabad.

Other Kumbh Mela celebrations occur at the remaining two locations.

In addition to these, there is also an extremely large festival named Maha Kumbh that is held every 144 years at Prayag, with the most recent occurring in .

Kumbh Mela History

Many have linked the tradition of Kumbh Mela back to an ancient Hindu philosopher named Shankara who lived in the 8th century.

Shankara helped develop the Advaita Vedanta school of philosophy which remains important to Indian culture and Hinduism today.

He is thought to have organized a large number of gatherings that involved many well-practiced and learned Hindu devotees and ascetics.

These gatherings offered the chance for lively philosophical debate and discussion.

Those that link the Shankara to Kumbh Mela believe these early gatherings were the origin of the present-day Kumbh Mela.

Kumbh Mela Pilgrimage Significance

The Kumbh Mela occurs at four holy sites in India and marks the beginning of a great spiritual journey for many believers.

These locations are Nashik on the Godavari river,

Ujjain on the Shipra river, Haridwar on the Ganges, and Allahabad at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati.

Although these areas are also home to other events such as the Ganges river festival, the Kumbh Mela is one of the most revered and significant.

It is believed that during auspicious days of the mela, pilgrims can achieve liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth by taking a bath in one of these holy rivers.

The Kumbh Mela pilgrimage and festival is an opportunity for Hindus to connect with their faith and culture through spiritual practices such as rituals, meditation, and prayer.

Kumbh Mela Festival Rituals

There are several important rituals that take place during the Kumbh Mela. Some of these include:

Kumbh Mela Facts

It can be helpful to explore some overall facts about the Kumbh Mela in order to gain a deeper understanding of its significance, 

Lesson Summary

Kumbh Mela (or Kumbha Mela) is a significant Hindu spiritual event and religious gathering that takes place in India four separate times in repeating twelve-year cycles. There are four different locations in which the event takes place,

including Ujjain, on the Shipra River

Haridwar, on the Ganges RiverNashik,

on the Godavari River; and Allahabad, at the confluence of the Yamuna, Ganges, and Sarasvati rivers.

A half Kumbh Mela (Ardha Kumbh Melas) is held about every six years, while a larger and more significant event known as the Maha Kumbh Mela is held at Prayag every 144 years.

The exact dates and lengths of the festivals are determined by the astrological positions of Jupiter, the Sun, and the Moon.

There are several important rituals that take place during the Kumbh Mela, such as bathing in the holy rivers, religious processions, ceremonies, and darshan with spiritual leaders.

Kumbh Mela is thought to be the largest peaceful human gathering in the world. In , 200 million people participated in the festival.

The historical origins of the event are uncertain with some historians tracing the festival back to the Hindu philosopher Shankara in the 8th century and others pointing to a possible account of the festival by Chinese explorer Hsuan Tsang (Xuanzang) in the 7th century.

The founding myth of the Kumbh Mela refers to a battle between gods and demons for the possession of an elixir of immortality known as the amrita.

During the struggle, drops of the amrita fell in the four different locations where the Kumbh Mela is held today.

It is thought that bathing in the sacred waters during the festival can help bring about spiritual cleansing, liberation, and ties to divinity.

What is the Kumbh Mela?

The Kumbh Mela, one of the most sacred pilgrimages of Hinduism, is currently in full swing.

The months-long Indian festival features colourful processions and prayers, with devotees travelling from across the world to dip themselves in holy rivers to absolve themselves of their sins.

The festival is held at four riverbank pilgrimage sites – Prayagraj (at the confluence of the Yamuna, Ganges and the mythical Sarasvati),

Haridwar (along the river Ganges), Nashik (along the river Godavari) and Ujjain (along the river Shipra) – over the course of a 12-year cycle.

That means the festival takes place at one of the four locations approximately every three years, although the dates vary and are based on the Hindu calendar and the Zodiac position of the planet Jupiter, the Sun and the Moon.

In , 240 million people visited Allahabad during the 49-day Kumbh Mela, making this one of the world’s largest religious gatherings.

These visitors come from across India as well as abroad.

The Kumbh Mela in  welcomed approximately 1.03 million foreign tourists.

The festival usually goes on over a period of months, beginning in January.

It revolves around certain dates that are considered more auspicious for the Shahi Snan, or main bathing ritual. 

This year, the first Shahi Snan, which translates to royal bath, was on March 11, followed by April 12.

The next will take place on Wednesday, April 14 and on April 27.

Here’s everything you need to know about the festival, which has been inscribed on Unesco’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

History and origin of Kumbh Mela

The word “kumbh” is derived from “Kumbha” or pitcher in Sanskrit, while Mela stands for fair or festival, literally making this the festival of the pitcher or pitcher festival.

According to Hindu legend, the festival gets its name from the pitcher of amrita, or nectar of immortality, that was produced by the devas (gods) and the asuras (demons) together.

However, when the gods and demons started fighting over the kumbha with the elixir of immortality, the battle went on for 12 years.

During the ensuing fight, four drops of the elixir were spilled on to the Kumbh Mela’s four sites, and that is where devotees now gather to cleanse themselves of their sins and pay tribute to the gods.

There are four types of Kumbh Mela that take place.

The traditional Kumbh Mela takes place once every three years, alternating between locations in Nashik, Ujjain, Haridwar and Prayagraj.

The Ardha Kumbh Mela takes place once every six years and only at Haridwar and Prayagraj.

The Purna Kumbh Mela is organised every 12 years.

The last one was in 2010 in Haridwar.

Finally, the Maha Kumbh Mela takes place every 144 years, or after every 12 cycles.

What happens during the Kumbh Mela?

One of the most significant aspects of the Kumbh Mela is the bathing rituals in the holy waters on significant days known as “Shahi Snan”.

Led by sadhus or holy men, devotees attend day-long rituals that take place on the embankment of the rivers.

Devotional prayers knowns as aartis are sung and drums are beaten.

The religious bathing takes place every day, but the most auspicious time is the night of the full Moon.

Devotees believe that bathing in the river on this day helps a person achieve “moksha” or salvation.

What’s different this year?

This year, the Kumbh Mela has already begun on an unusual note. While the festival usually starts in January and takes place over a period of roughly 49 days or three months, this year, Covid-19 regulations have been put in place to curtail it to just a month.

The Uttarakhand high court has mandated that those visiting carry negative PCR test reports while other safety precautions include thermal screening checkpoints and limiting the time for bathing.

However, local reports have noted that authorities are struggling to contain crowds, with more than 2.8 million devotees turning up for the second shahi snan on April 12, and as many as 102 attendees testing positive for Covid-19.

This comes at a time when India is facing a Covid-19 spike, having overtaken Brazil as the world’s second worst-hit country on April 12.

Kumbh Mela

The Kumbh Mela also known as The Festival Of The Sacred Pitcher has its origin in the Hindu mythology.

It is the largest gathering of people and collective action of faith in the world.

The congregation consists of ascetics, saints, sadhus, sadhvis, kalpvasis, and pilgrims from all over the world.

It is believed that approximately ten million pilgrims come to bathe at the holy confluence on the three rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati for 48 days.

Kumbh Mela – When & Where

Kumbh Mela in Hinduism is a pilgrimage that is celebrated four times for 12 years.

The location of the Mela also keeps rotating between four pilgrimages namely:
Kumbh Mela in Haridwar on the Ganges in Uttarakhand
Kumbh Mela in Ujjain on the Shipra River in Madhya Pradesh
Kumbh Mela in Nashik on the Godavari River  in Maharashtra
Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati in Uttar Pradesh.

Each site is chosen as per the astrological positions of the Sun, the Moon and the Jupiter.

The mela is held at the exact time when these three positions are fully occupied, and it is the holiest time in Hinduism.

Types of Kumbh Mela

There are five types of Kumbh Melas which are held in India:

Maha Kumbh Mela

This is considered to be held once in the lifetime of the Hindus.

It comes once in every 144 years after 12 Purna Kumbh Melas.

Maha Kumbh is held only in Prayagraj. It was last held in   and now will be held 144 years later.

It is believed that taking a dip in the Ganges during Maha Kumbh; one can relieve themselves and their ancestors back to the eighty-eighth generations from all evils and sins.

Purna Kumbh Mela

This is held after every 12 years in Allahabad. Millions of devotees take a bath in the Ganges during this fair.

Ardh Kumbh

Ardh Kumbh is celebrated after every six years and marks the halfway between the celebrations of Purna Kumbh which is celebrated every 12 years.

It is held only in Allahabad and Haridwar.

Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is held in 4 different places-Ujjain, Nashik, Prayagraj, and Haridwar.

The astrological positions of the Sun and Jupiter decide in which city the mela would be held.

Magh (Kumbh Mela)

The Magh Mela is of utmost importance for the Hindus because they link the origin of the Magh Mela with the creation of the universe.

This mela is held every year on the Triveni Sangam (confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mystical Saraswati). It is organized in the Magh month of the Hindu Calendar.

History of Kumbh Mela – Mythological Significance

Shankara, the 8th-century philosopher, transcribed the origin of the Kumbh Mela.

The founding myth recounts how Gods and Demons fought over Kumbh (the sacred pitcher) of Amrit (potion of immortality) called the Ratana of Samudra Manthan.

It is believed that Lord Vishnu disguised as Mohini, the enchantress took Kumbh from the clutches of the demons.

As he was taking it towards the heaven, drops fell on the four sites where today Kumbh is celebrated namely, Haridwar, Ujjain, Nashik, and Prayagraj.

Lord Vishnu’s flight is believed to have lasted for 12 divine days which is equivalent to 12 human years and hence the Mela is celebrated every 12 years, staggered at each of the four sacred sites in the cycle.
There is also a mention of Kumbh and the bathing ritual in the Rig Veda.

It talks about the advantages of bathing in Sangam during this period which includes the negation of negativity and rejuvenation of the mind, body, and soul.

It is also believed that Prajapati Brahma performed the Ashvamedha Yajna at the Dashashvamedha Ghat situated at the confluence of Ganga and Yamuna and created the universe due to which Kumbh at Prayagraj is the most significant of all the Kumbh festivals.

Astrological and Social Significance 

The Samudra Manthan Tale is referred to the Astrological significance of the festival when Lord Vishnu took 12 divine days to reach the heavens. Every twelfth year when Jupiter enters the Aries constellation on the day of the new moon in the month of Magh, as per the Hindu Calendar, Kumbh is celebrated.

The event of Kumbh takes place in the four destinations as per the following astrological positions-
When Jupiter moves into the Aquarius constellation and the Sun to the Aries constellation, Kumbh is held in Haridwar.
When Jupiter moves into Leo, it is held at Nashik.
When Jupiter enters Leo and Sun enters Aries, Kumbh takes place in Ujjain.
When Sun is in Capricorn and Jupiter in Taurus, the Kumbh Mela is in Prayagraj.

The social significance of the Kumbh Mela lies in the fact that it is the only event of the world which requires no invitation, and yet millions of pilgrims come for this mega event.

Kumbh Mela also gives forth a social message which is of the welfare of all human beings, sharing of noble thoughts and maintaining and strengthening of relationships.

The chanting of mantras, holy elucidations, traditional dances, devotional songs, and mythical stories bring the people together thus reflecting Kumbh’s social significance.

Kumbh Mela – Importance of the Rituals

The Kumbh Mela is an amalgamation of the science of astronomy, astrology, spirituality, traditions, rituals and socio-cultural practices, making it one of the richest festivals in knowledge.
During the Mela, various ceremonies take place, like the traditional procession of Akharas, called Peshwai on horses, chariots and elephant backs, the show of shining swords and rituals of Naga Sadhus during the Shani Snaan each of which symbolizes something or some virtue.
The importance of Kumbh is reflected in the fact that it brings together many factors such as the confluence of all the cultures, spirituality, humanity, the essence of life and the binding energies.

It also signifies the flow of rivers and forests, the relationship between nature and human life and shows the path of enlightenment.

Rituals of The Kumbh Mela

Aarti In Hinduism, the humans demonstrate their gratitude and devotion to rivers by Aarti on the riverbanks.

Grand arrangements are made for these Aartis in which thousands of people participate with tremendous faith and zeal.

The aarti is performed in the mornings and evenings in which Batuks (priests) chant hymns, holding magnificent lamps.

Kalpavas at the confluence of the rivers is regarded to be sacred.

The period of Kalpvas is from the Ekadashi of the full moon in the Magh month up to Maghi Ekadashi.

There are a set of 21 rules which a Kalpvas has to observe like celibacy, truthfulness, non-violence, renunciation of all wordy pleasures and a whole list of Brahmachari rules.

Deep Daan
Meaning of Deep Daan is to offer earthen lamps at a specific place like rivers, forests, temple and other sacred places with the aim of spreading spirituality. 

It is one of the most mesmerizing scenes at the Kumbh.


The most significant ritual performed at the Kumbh is the San or the holy bath.

People take dips in the holy water with the belief that they would be redeemed of all their sins and also relieved from the cycle of birth and death and attain Moksha.

Along with bathing in the river, people worship on the banks and have discoursed with the priests.

There are processions of saints, and their disciples and members of Akharas(religious orders) take part in the Shahi Snan also known as Rajyogi Sean at the start of the Kumbh.

Although taking baths on all days of the Kumbh is considered holy, there are some special days when it is incredibly mesmerizing.

Prayagraj Panchkoshi Parikrama
The changing times have had an impact on the nature of the Kumbh Mela.

The rituals of ?


have seen the direct impact of the changes that have taken place. Parikramas (circumambulation) is an essential part of Kumbh since the very beginning.

Attractions at The Kumbh Mela

Akharas and Sadhus

Akhara is the place for a religious meeting where sadhus carry out rituals.

The saints are known to be followers of Lord Shiva and Vishnu.

Some of them are a bare body while others are dressed in saffron.

It is a beautiful opportunity to visit these Akharas and learn about religious groups and capture the unique practices in your lenses.

Satsangs are an integral part of Kumbh.

Devotees sit for hours listening to devotional hymns and prayers.

There are discourses on Hinduism too which are exciting and enriching.

Late Night Experience

The city of Allahabad does not sleep during Kumbh. The pleasant view of the river with a gentle breeze and the mystical ghats are a lifetime experience, and one should not miss it.

Camp Life
Staying in camps during Kumbh is another lifetime experience which gives excellent memories to cherish forever. Camps are set up for Sadhus and people who wish to stay near the bathing area. Living in tents allows one to interact with people from all cultures and faiths and at times gives a new perspective on life.

The mouthwatering Langars (communal meals ) and Prasad (sacred offerings) are given to all devotees. It is incredibly delicious and a major attraction of Kumbh.

Thus, the greatness of the Kumbh is reflected in the chanting of mantras, shahi snans of akharas, the brilliance of the earthen lamps and the history that is associated with it. The hearts of devotees are filled with joy and exultation whenever they visit the Kumbh Mela.

Kumbhamela Introduction

Mythological significance of Kumbh revolves around the story of the samudra manthan or ocean churning which was done by the gods and demons to obtain the invaluable ratnas or the jewels and amrita or the nectar of immortality.

The mountain Mandrachala become churning stick and the Nagraja Vasuki acted as the rope.

The Lord Vishnu himself took form of Kasava or tortoise and provided base for the mountain Mandrachala with fear that it may get slipped and submerged in the ocean.  

The story is symbolic of the churning of our minds to go deeper into our selves from where all powers and auspicious things arise, eventually leading to liberation or immortality.

The first to emerge in this churning was a venomous poison which was consumed by the Lord Shiva who upon drinking this poison came to be called as the Nilkantha.

The churning continues and emerged Kamdhenu, the Uccaishrava Jayanta, the son of Lord Indra ,

catching sight of the amrita kalasa or the pot filled with nectar, snatched it from the the hands of God Dhanvantari.

Noticing this, Lord Shukracharya , the Guru of demons alerted and demons chased Jayanta.

According to the divine counting one day of Gods is equal to the one year of mortal beings and the Jayanta kept on running for 12 days to avoid amrit kalasha to fall in the hands of demons.

The four places where Jayanta had put down the amrit kalasha in these twelve years were Haridwar, Prayag,

Nashik-Trimbakeshwar and Ujjain, and at these four places at that time the sun, moon ,and planets had reached the unique astrological alignment, during which are kumbhmela is held at these places.

The nectar pot was saved from the demons by God Brihaspati with the help of Sun , his son Lord Shani and Moon who saved the nectar kumbh from getting damaged.

As mentioned in the Skanda purana, kumbhmela is not just celebrated where the amrit kalasa was put down ,

but where the nectar had spilled along with putting down of the kalasa. It is believed that these drops gave mystical powers to these places.

It is to make oneself gain on those powers that Kumbh Mela has been celebrated in each of the four places since long as one can remember.

The normal Kumbh Mela is held every 3 years, the Ardh (half) Kumbh Mela is held every six years at Haridwar and Allahabad (Prayag) while the Purna (complete) Kumbh mela takes place every twelve years, at four places Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik, based on planetary movements.

The Maha Kumbh Mela is celebrated at Prayag after 144 years (after 12 ‘Purna Kumbh Melas’).

Depending on what position the Sun, Moon, and Jupiter hold in that period in different zodiac signs, the venue for Kumbh Mela is decided.

Astrological aspect

The Astrological aspect of Kumbh is related with traversing planets and stars and their certain alignment .

As per the Vedas the Sun is considered as a soul like or life giving.

The moon is considered as a lord of Mind.

The planet Jupiter or Brihaspati is consider as Guru of Gods.

As it takes almost 12 years for Jupiter to transverse to complete zodiac , so the Kumbh is celebrated in accordance at one place after about every twelve years.

पद्‍मिनी नायके मेषे कुम्भ राशि गते गुरोः ।

गंगा द्वारे भवेद योगः कुम्भ नामा तथोत्तमाः।। “

When Jupiter enters in Aquarius or Kumbh ( zodiac sign) and Sun and Moon in Aries and Sagittarius respectively ,Kumbh is held at Haridwar.

मकरे च दिवा नाथे ह्‍म‍जगें च बृहस्पतौ कुम्भ योगोभवेत्तत्र प्रयागे ह्‌यति दूलर्भ:

” मेष राशि गते जीवे मकरे चन्द्र भास्करौ ।

अमावस्या तदा योगः कुम्भख्यस्तीर्थ नायके ।। “

When the Jupiter is in Taurus or Vrishabha (zodiac sign) and the Sun and Moon are in Capricorn or Makra, the kumbha is held at Prayag.

I” सिंह राशि गते सूर्ये सिंह राशौ बृहस्पतौ ।

गोदावर्या भवेत कुम्भों जायते खलु मुक्‍तिदः ।। “

When the Jupiter enters in Leo or Simha (zodiac sign) and the Sun and Moon in Cancer, the Kumbha is held at Nashik and Trimbakeshwar.

” मेष राशि गते सूर्ये सिंह राशौ बृहस्पतौ ।

उज्जियन्यां भवेत कुम्भः सदामुक्‍ति प्रदायकः ।। “

When Jupiter is in Leo and the Sun and Moon in Aries, the Kumbha is held at Ujjain.

Since Jupiter is in zodiac Simha the Kumbh is held at Trimbakeshwar and Nashik and Ujjain , it is known as Simhastha Kumbh.

The Nashik -Trimbakeshwar Kumbh

The last Simhastha Kumbhamela was held at Nashik and Trimbakeshwar in the year   . The Kumbh Festival, a human congregation of spirituality is held at Nashik-Trimbakeshwar, Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar and Ujjain . Ardh Kumbh is held at Prayag and Haridwar after every six years.

The Kumbh Fair is held at the banks of sacred rivers every 12 years.

At Nashik – Trimabkeshwar it is held at the banks of river Godavari.

At Prayag it is held at sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganga-Yamuna and the invisible Saraswati, at the banks of Ganga at Haridawar and at the banks of Kshipra at Ujjain.

It is marked by the fact that millions of people participate in this great fair without any summons, call, notice or invitation.

Nashik is believed to be the part of Dandakaranya, where Lord Rama lived during his exile. Trimbakeshwar is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas.

The sacred river Godavari originates here on Bramhagiri hills.

Trimbakeshwar is having Samadhi of shri sant Nivruttinath who is supposed to be founder of Nath Sampradaya.

This Kumbh is unique as Vaishnav Akhadas and Shaiva Akhadas which bath together at Prayag, Haridwar and Ujjain, baths separately here.

As a result of arrangements made by the Peshwas due to clashes between ascetics of both sects , Vaishnva Akhadas baths at Nashik and Shaiva or Sanyasis, Udasin Akhadas baths at Trimbakeshwar.

History of Kumbh Mela: Types, Significance and Venue

The history of Kumbh Mela is related to the days when the Devtas and the Demons conjointly produced nectar of immortality as depicted by the legends.

Kumbh Mela has its own religious importance which is held every 12 years. No doubt it is the largest gathering of faith in which from the whole of the world people participate and take bathe in the sacred or holy river.

But have you ever thought that what is the meaning of Kumbh, why it is celebrated, who started Kumbh Mela, what is the story of Kumbh Mela etc?

Let us study through this article.

According to Hindu mythology, Kumbh Mela is an important and religious festival which is celebrated four times over the course of 12 years.

The location of the festival keeps rotating between four pilgrimage sites situated on the banks of the holy rivers.

These places are Haridwar on the Ganges in the Uttarakhand, Ujjain on the Shipra river in Madhya Pradesh,

Nashik on the Godavari river in Maharashtra and Prayagraj at the confluence of three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati in the Uttar Pradesh.

Let us tell you that this year Kumbh Mela began from 15 January,  at Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh and will last till 4 March, .

Earlier in  , the Kumbh Mela was held at Nashik – Trimbakeshwar.

It is correctly said that Kumbh Mela is the world’s largest religious and cultural human gathering.

Crores of pilgrims over a course of 48 days take bathe in the holy rivers.

Devotees mainly sadhus, sadhvis, ascetics, pilgrims etc.

from across the world take part in this Mela.

History of Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is made up of two words Kumbh and Mela.

The name Kumbh is derived from the immortal pot of nectar which the Devtas and the demons fought over as described in ancient Vedic scriptures known as the Puranas.

Mela, as we all are familiar, is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘gathering’ or ‘to meet’.

The history of Kumbh Mela is related to the days when the Devtas and the Demons conjointly produced nectar of immortality as depicted by the legends.

The Devtas and the demons agreed to complete the task together and decided to share the nectar of immorality in half.

The Devtas and the demons then assembled on the shore of the milk ocean that lies in the celestial region of the cosmos. 

The churning of the milk ocean produced a deadly poison which Lord Shiva drank without being affected.

After crossing through many hurdles years later, Dhanwantari appeared with the nectar of immortality in her hands.

The Devtas forcibly ceased the pot with its safety entrusted onto the four Gods – Brahaspati, Surya, Shani, and Chandra.

Thereafter, the demons chased the Devtas for many days. During this time the drops of Kumbh dropped at 4 places Prayagraj, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik.

These four places are since then believed to have acquired mystical powers.

The fight for the Kumbh i.e. the sacred pitcher between the Gods and demons continued for 12 divine days, which is considered to be as long as 12 years for humans.

That is why the Kumbh Mela is celebrated once in 12 years and gathering took place on the above mentioned sacred places or holy sites.

It is said that during this period the rivers turned into Amrit and so, several pilgrims from across the world visit the Kumbh Mela to bathe in the essence of purity and immortality.

Types of Kumbh Melas

Maha Kumbh Mela: It is held only in Prayagraj. It comes in every 144 years or after 12 Purna (Complete) Kumbh Mela.

Purna Kumbh Mela: It comes every 12 years. Mainly held at 4 Kumbh Mela Places in India i.e. Prayagraj, Haridwar, Nashik and Ujjain. It rotates every 12 years at these 4 places.

Ardh Kumbh Mela: It means Half Kumbh Mela which is held every 6 years in India only at two places i.e. Haridwar and Prayagraj.

Kumbh Mela: Held at four different places and is organised by the state governments. Millions of people participate with spiritual enthusiasm.

Magh Kumbh Mela: It is also known as Mini Kumbh Mela which is held annually and only at Prayagraj. It is organised in the month of Magh according to the Hindu Calendar.

The venue for Kumbh Mela is decided according to the position of the Sun, Moon and Jupiter hold in that period in different zodiac signs.

Since then, Kumbh Mela is celebrated with all the ritual beliefs and people from different aspects gather to celebrate the eve.

Some interesting facts about Kumbh Mela

– Kumbh Mela is the largest religious gatherings in the world which is also known as “World’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims”.

– The first written evidence of the Kumbh Mela is mentioned in Bhagvat Purana. Another written evidence of Kumbh Mela is mentioned in the works of Chinese traveller Hsuan Tsang ( or Xuanzang) who visited India in 629-645 AD, during the reign of Harshavardhana. Also, about the Samudra Manthan is also mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, Mahabharata and Ramayana.

– Amongst the four cities Prayagraj, Nashik, Haridwar and Ujjain, the Kumbh Mela held in Prayagraj is the oldest of all.

– Other activities also took place at the Kumbh Mela with bathing are Pravachan, Kirtan and Maha Prasad.

– No doubt, Kumbh Mela is a major temporary source of earning that gives many people employment.

– In Kumbh Mela, the first bath is lead by the Saints which is known as Shahi Snan of Kumbh and it starts at 3 AM. After the royal bath of the Saint’s common people gets permission to take a bath in the holy river.

– According to Hindu Mythology, it is believed that who take a dip in the holy water of Ganga they are eternally blessed. Not only this, but it also washes the sin and moves them towards the path of salvation.

– The four places or sites of Kumbh Mela is because of the Amrit or an immortal drink that was dropped by Vishnu at these four places.

– The world’s largest gathering Kumbh Mela has been included in the UNESCO’s representative list ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’.

– Kumbh Mela takes place on the dates when the nectar is said to have fallen in the holy river. Every year, the dates are calculated according to the combination of Jupiter, the Sun and the Moon’s zodiac positions.

– Kumbh means ‘nectar’. Kumbh Mela story dates back to the time when gods resided on the earth. They had been weakened by the curse of sage Durvasa and the demons were causing mayhem on the earth.

So, this is the whole story behind the Kumbh Mela and who started it, why and when it is celebrated with some interesting points.

Kumbh Mela in Haridwar

The Holy Festival
The holy festival of Kumbh is the most sacred celebration for Hindus.

The festival falls every 3 years and is celebrated in 4 different cities, viz.,

Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik.

According to popular belief, Kumbh mela has the powers to the wash away all the sins of a person and free him from the cycle of birth-rebirth, of those who participate in them with full devotion.

The festival is held at the banks of Ganga in Haridwar, as Haridwar is the place where Ganga enters plains, from hilly region.

The History
The mythology says that during the times when earth was created, the Gods were under a curse that made them weak.

Brahma, the creator of universe, guided them to churn the ocean, where they can find Amrit, a divine nectar, which can make them powerful and almighty.

Gods agreed to it, but found it very difficult to do it alone, as churning an ocean was no child’s play.

They asked demons to help them, sharing half nectar with them.

The demons agreed to it, listening to the offer.

Mandara mountain was used as the mixing rod and Vasuki, the heavenly serpent, offered his body as the rope to move the mountain.

The churning process finally started and continued for 1000 years.

The mountain Mandara, in the middle of procession, began to sink.

Seeing this, Vishnu took the shape of a tortoise and sat under the mountain, providing it support.

After 1000 years, many mythological things came out of the ocean, which included Laksmi the Goddess of Prosperity and Wealth, Sura the Goddess of Wine, Chandra, or the moon, Apsaras, the celestial nymphs,

Kaustabha, the precious gem of Vishnu, Uchchaishravas, the divine horse, Parijata, the wishing coral tree,

Kamdhenu, the wish-fulfilling Divine Cow, Airavata, the four-tusked white elephant, Panchajanya, or the conch, Sharanga,

the invincible bow, and Dhanvantri, Nimi and Bharadwaj – the physicians and surgeons.

Amrit, as soon as came out with Dhanwantari, was siezed by Gods, and they ran away. Demons felt cheated by gods,and ran after them.

A battle between gods and demons took place and continued for 12 days and nights.

In an endeavor to keep the nectar from falling into the hands of the demons, the demigods hid it in four places on the earth, Prayag (Allahabad),

Hardwar, Ujjain, and Nasik. At each of the hiding places, a drop of immortal nectar spilled from the pot and landed on the earth.

These four places are since believed to have acquired mystical power.

The next Kumbh Mela in Haridwar is due in  AD.

The Religious Importance
The festival is religiously most important for the Hindus.

At every Kumbh occassion, millions of Hindus take part in the celebrations.

During  Kumbh at Haridwar, more than 10 millions devoteed gathered at the site.

Saints, priests, and yogis from all corners of India, gathered to participate in Kumbh. Haridwar is considered very holy, due to the fact that Ganga enter plains from mountains here itself.

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 Ganga 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.

The Occassion
As per the astrologers, the Kumbh Fair ( Mela ) takes place when the Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries.

This planetary position is said to medicate the waters of Ganga at a particular spot called Har ki pauri on the banks of River Ganges in Haridwar,

and turns it into nectar on these days, thereby attracting millions to purify their inner-self through holy bathing rituals.

Spiritually, position of planets during the Kumbh Mela is good for concentration and meditation.

Though all the Hindu festivals in Haridwar are celebrated with great vigour, Ardh Kumbh & Kumbh Mela are the ones which attracts majority of pilgrims.