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 Festival Of Kumbha Mela

Kumbh(Pot) Mela(Fair) is that pilgrimage occurs four times every twelve years, once at each of the four locations in India. Attended by millions of people, making it the largest pilgrimage gathering around the world.

When Jupiter (Guru) and Sun are in zodiac sign Leo(Simha Rashi) it is celebrated in Trimbakeshwar, Nashik.

A ritual bath at a predetermined time and place is the major event of this festival. Thousands of holy men/women (monks, saints, sadhus) grace the occasion by their presence. A holy dip in the river is considered to wash away all your past sins. Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men/women and the poor, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardized.

The observance of Kumbha Mela is based upon the following story : thousands of years ago, perhaps in the Vedic period, gods and demons made a temporary agreement to work together in obtaining amrita (the nectar of immortality) from the Milky Ocean, and to share this equally. However, when the Kumbha (pot) containing the amrita appeared, the demons ran away with the pot and were chased by the gods. For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the gods and demons fought in the sky for the possession of this pot of amrita. It is said that during the battle, drops of amrita fell on to four places : Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. Thus, Kumbha mela is observed at these four locations where the nectar fell.

The Four locations are
*
Prayag (near the city of Allahabad, in the state of Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of three rivers Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and Saraswati
*
Haridwar (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) where the river Ganga enters the plains from Himalayas
*
Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), on the banks of Ksipra river
*
Nasik (in Maharashtra) on the banks of Godavari river.

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Besides the Ganges, there are also two other sacred rivers located at Allahabad, the Yamuna and the Saraswati . The Yamuna, like the Ganges has its earthly origin in the Himalayas. The Saraswati, however, is a mystical river which has no physical form. Its is believed that the Saraswati exists only on the ethereal or spiritual plane and is not visible to the human eye. This holy river is mentioned many times in India's sacred texts such as the Mahabharata and is said to be present at Allahabad where it joins the Yamuna and the Ganges.

This confluence of India's three most sacred rivers at Allahabad is called the "sangam". The combined sanctity of the three holy rivers, coupled with the spiritual powers obtained from the pot of nectar of immortality, has earned Allahabad the rank of tirtharaja, the king of holy places.

The main highlight for most pilgrims during a Kumbha Mela is the observance of a sacred bath at the sangam. It is said that a bath in either of the sacred rivers has purifying effects, but where the three rivers meet, the bather's purification is increased one hundred times. Furthermore, it is said that when one takes a bath at the sangam during the Kumbha Mela, the influence is one thousand times increased.

Dates for the Maha Kumbh Festival
(every 12 years in 4 locations)

  • The next Ardh (half) Mela (festival) will be held January 2007 at Allahabad. Main bathing date: Jan. 19.
  • In 2010, March-April, Maha Kumbh Mela will be held at Haridwar in the foothills of the Himalayas. Main bathing date: April 14.
  • In 2013, Maha Kumbh Mela will be held in Allahabad (Prayag), Jan. 27 to Feb. 25. Main bathing date: Feb. 10.
  • In 2015, Maha Kumbh Mela will be held Aug. 15 to Sept. 13. Main bathing date: Sept. 13.
  • In 2016, Maha Kumbh Mela will be held April 22 to May 21. Main bathing date: May 21.

 

 

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