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.
Kumbh Mela is a religious event that is organized on a grand scale in India. Kumbh Mela has a lot of significance for people in India, as it gives them an opportunity to liberate themselves from the sufferings and wash away all their sins. Kumbh Mela is believed to have the largest congregation of ascetics, yogis, sadhus, sages and common men living on the planet Earth.
People from all across the country assemble here to observe this famous Mela, but very few are aware about its origin & history. There are many interesting legends about the origin and celebration of the Kumbha Mela. The story revolves around the fight between demons and Gods for the nectar of immortality.
The origin of Kumbh Mela can be traced back to the Vedic period, when the deities and demons arrived at a consensus to work together in the task of churning “amrit”, i.e. the nectar of immorality from the Ksheera Sagara (the primeval ocean of milk). It was decided that the nectar would be shared amongst all on an equal basis. To know the complete story, read further.
When the Kumbh or the pitcher full of amrit appeared, the demons played a mischief and they escaped the place with the nectar.
The Gods also followed them and fought with demons in the sky for acquiring the pitcher of amrit. The battle went on for twelve consecutive days and nights, which was equivalent to 12 human years. It is said that during the war, a few drops of amrit fell on the earth at four distinctive spots, namely Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. These are those four points or locations, where Kumbh Mela festival is celebrated four times in every 12 years.
Kumbh Mela is not just a mere festivity like Diwali and Holi, but holds lot of importance for people in India. People look up to Kumbh Mela with highest regard, as this event gives them a golden opportunity to liberate themselves from the miseries and sufferings of life. It enables them to take a holy dip in the sacred water and wash away all the sins they have committed in the past.
People come from different parts of the country to be a part of this sacred ceremony. It is believed that taking a holy dip in water paves way for attainment of Moksha. However, it is of paramount importance that the person who is performing the rituals has complete faith and trust in the power of divinity.
Mentions have been made about the Kumbha Mela in the Brahma Purana and Vishnu Purana, which clearly state that a person who performs the bathing ceremony during the month of Magh at Prayag (Allahabad) derives manifold benefits, which surpasses the reward obtained by performing numerous Ashvamedha rituals. Rig Veda has a mention about the significance of convergence of river Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati at Prayag or Sangam. References can be found about the significance of this ritual in Varaha Purana and Matsya Purana as well. There is a belief that the ashram of the learned Bharadvaja, where Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita lived at the time of their exile, was situated at Sangam. It is said that a number of saints including the great Shankaracharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Sangam and observed the Kumbh Mela. The great Indian epics such the Ramayana and Mahabharata have mentioned that a yagna was conducted by Lord Brahma at Sangam.
Prayag is the point where the three holy rivers Yamuna, Ganga and Saraswati meet, which is more often referred to as Triveni Sangam.
This is the spot where Kumbh mela is conducted. Devotees congregate here and perform several rites and rituals. A number of ceremonies are performed, out of which the most important is the bathing ceremony that takes place on the banks of the rivers in each town.
To know more about the customs and traditions practiced during the Kumbh Mela, read further… Various activities take place during Kumbh Mela such as discussions on religious issues, singing in the praise of God, offering of food to all those attending the Kumbh Mela and many more.
Kumbh Mela gives a platform to come across the holy men, who have dedicated their lives in the worship and devotion of God. There are various saints, sadhus and yogis, who are engaged in penance.
They come out of their Himalayan caves only during the occasion of Maha Kumbh Mela, which is held only once in twelve years to bestow their blessings on people.
It is more popularly known as the blissful darshan. Kumbh mela is often known to be a point, where you come across people whom you had lost long back. The guru of the well known saint Paramahansa Yogananda met his guru Mahavatar Babaji at Kumbh Mela.
The holy processions that take place during the Kumbh Mela give the common man an opportunity to catch the glimpse of holy saints passing by on traditional modes of transport such as the chariot, elephants, horses, camels and palanquins. Their charisma and magnetism is very influencing. The holy men transmit spiritual vibrations to people and this whole experience makes the event absolutely awe inspiring.