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Kumbh Mela In The Ganges?

Discussion in 'By The Sea' started by Dune Dude, Jan 11, 2016.

  1. Dune Dude

    Dune Dude New Member

    Can anyone tell me a little more about the Kumbh Mela ritual that draws in so many thousands of people? It is supposed to be a religious ceremony, which many people attend, along the Ganges river.

  2. Aja

    Aja Member

    From what I've heard, it only happens there every 12 years, and the last one was in 2013. I believe it happens elsewhere in between. I was told that the one that is celebrated in Holy Sangam in Allahabad is the best.

  3. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hello there and welcome to the forum!

    What is the Kumbh Mela?

    Kumbh Mela is also called as Kumbha Mela. In the simplest terms, it is a mass gathering of Hindus to bathe in the sacred river. There are four recognised Kumbh Melas in the country, these are:
    • The Haridwar Kumbh Mela in the Ganges River (March to April) - This is held every 12 years in the banks of the Ganges River in Haridwar. It is held when Jupiter is in Aquarius and the sun enters Aries. The last Haridwar Kumbh Mela was held in 2010 and the next one is to be held on 2021 or 2022. Also, 6 years after the Kumbh Mela, an Ardh Kumbh Mela is also held and it is scheduled this year, 2016.
    • The Allahabad Kumbh Mela in the Ganges River (January to February) - This is held every 12 years in the Triveni Sangam in Prayag. It is held when Jupiter is in Taurus and the sun & moon is in Capricorn. The Triveni Sangam is the confluence of three rivers: Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati. The last Allahabad Kumbh Mela was held in the year 2013, the next one is to be held on 2025.
    • The Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha in the Godavari River (August to September) - This is held every 12 years in the Nashik District of Maharashtra. It is held when Jupiter is in Leo and when Jupiter, sun or moon is in Cancer. The last event was held in 2015 and the next one will be held on 2027.
    • The Ujjain Simhastha in the Shipra River (April to May) - This is held every 12 years in the Ujjain City of Madhya Pradesh. It is held when Jupiter is in Leo or the sun is in Aries. The last event was held this 2016 and the next one is to be held on 2028.

    Origin of the Festival

    According to Hindu mythology, the origin of the Kumbh Mela can be traced back to the samudra manthan. The story goes that the Devas and the Asuras were fighting for the amrita. To prevent the Asuras from obtaining the amrita, a divine carrier flew away with the amrita in a pot. The carrier then drops the amrita into four places: Haridwar, Allahabad, Nashik and Ujjain. Hence, that's how this festival came to be.

    Rituals Performed

    The festival commences with a Peshwai Procession. This is the royal procession of the Naga Sadhus, which are members of the akhas or the sect of sadhus. They perform acrobatic acts and martial arts skills.

    Then, the ritualistic bathing of all the attendees are done. In Nasik alone, there was an estimated 75 million attendees for this event. It is believed that bathing in the river can free the pilgrims of their sins. Here, you'll find pilgrims of different statuses in life travelling long distances and tolerating difficulties just to join this holy event. It is also believed that bathing in the confluence of the three rivers in Sangam has 100 times more cleansing power than bathing in the other rivers. There's also a set order for people bathing in the river, it goes: the Junas first, the Niranjani and Mahanirvani akharas, then the pilgrims.

    Other activities in the Kumbh Mela are: religious discussions, singing and mass feeding. Darshan is also held in the Kumbh Mela. At night time, campfires are lit and you can listen to Hindu gurus talking about spirituality and philosophy. You can also watch Indian dramas and plays during the night time.

    I hope this helps!