The Kumbh Mela or urn fair in India is one of the most famous religious gatherings that take place in four places in the country. It is regarded as the power of luck that can move mountains, a huge congregation of millions of people who gather together to move towards the path of heaven, free from all sufferings. The normal Kumbh Mela occurs every three years, the semi-Kumbh Mela is held every six years in Haridwar and Allahabad. This particular fair is celebrated every twelve years at four places, named Prayag which is also known as Allahabad, Haridwar in Uttarakhand, Ujjain, and Nasik depending on the calculation of the planetary movements.
The historical significance of the Kumbh Mela
Kumbh means pot which is the zodiac sign of Aquarius. The mythological history says that in ancient times there was a war between demons and God. Both parties came to a solution to do ‘Samudra Manthan’ or explore the ocean. After continuously doing this, the divine Kumbh of urn or ‘Amrit’ came out of the ocean. It was believed whoever would drink the urn, would never die. But if demons have it, then the world would be a spot of never-ending sins, so one of Indra’s apsaras ( dancer of heaven), Mohini, took it away, and in hurry spills drops at the above-mentioned four places. That is why the places are regarded as holy and the liberation ritual is held by bathing in the holy river of the Ganges at these places. The date is differently calculated in different places by the astrologers. The calculation process is as follows for your consideration:
The fair is held in Haridwar in the month of Chaitra according to the Bengali calendar when the planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and the sun arrives in Aries.
It is held in the month of Magha when the planet Jupiter is in Aries or Taurus and the Moon and Sun enters Capricorn.
It is held in the Hindu month of Baisakha (April-May) when Sun is in Aries and Jupiter is in Leo.
In the English month of August– September which is Bhadra in the Bengali Calendar, it takes place in Nasik.
Cultural Importance of Kumbh Mela
It is the holiest and the largest gathering in the whole world and has been recognized by the UNESCO as the most peaceful gathering where people of all religion is given the same priority. The ‘naga sanyasis’ or the naked monks are regarded as the most challenging part among the monks and each naked monk is given the position after undergoing and passing the tough examinations, one of which is sacrificing worldly pleasures. They are given the right to take the first bath in the holy water. The biggest fair is called the Maha Kumbh Mela and Haridwar is the holiest pilgrimage to offer this fair.
Kumbh Mela 2023
Like every third year, the year 2019 has been regarded to celebrate the semi-Kumbh Mela in Allahabad. People would participate, not only from India but the foreigners too are keen to know about it, especially because they are much interested in the life of the naga sanyasis. All interested human beings are getting prepared for this wonderful chance. The bathing dates are as follows:
- 14th and 15th January 2019 on the day of Makar Sankranti
- 21st January on the day of Paush Purnima
- 4th February on the day of Mauni Amabashya
- 10th February on the day of Basant Panchami
- 19th February on the full moon day of Maag Month(Bengali calendar)
- 4th March on the day of Maha Shivratri
The Tribeni Sangam in Allahabad is going to be the next spot to attain salvation. Taking a bath at this time at the confluence of the three rivers would relieve you from all the past sins and you would be liberated. The saffron-clothed monks and the naked monks are the centers of attraction and common people offer them money to get their blessings. There are many accommodation facilities available online which you should start booking from now as the religious gathering exceeds more than two crores from all over the world. The Prayag divine Kumbh camp offers a suitable place for you to stay and explore this unique fair.
During the Kumbh Mela, a variety of religious and cultural events take place, including:
- Shahi Snan: The main event of the festival is the “royal bath,” in which the Naga Sadhus (naked holy men) and other pilgrims take a dip in the river.
- Religious Discourses: A platform for spiritual leaders to give lectures and engage in philosophical discussions.
- Cultural Programs: Performances of classical music and dance, devotional songs, and theatrical plays.
- Processions: Grand processions of saints and ascetics, accompanied by music and chanting, are a major attraction of the festival.
- Camps: Temporary camps are set up by different religious and spiritual groups, offering a place for pilgrims to stay and participate in devotional activities.
- Food Stalls: A variety of food stalls offering traditional cuisine and sweet dishes are set up, providing an opportunity for pilgrims to savor the local flavors.
These events aim to create an atmosphere of devotion, spiritual enrichment, and cultural exchange, providing an immersive experience for the pilgrims.