Diego from National Geographics takes us on a tour of the Kumbh Mela in Prayag (Allahabad). He receives darshan of several great mahatmas and is given the royal tour of Juna Akhara by Naga Baba Raj Rajeshwar Giri Ji. Source by- Nationlal Geographic .
Smell of burning joss sticks; echoes of sadhus and Babas chanting prayers; millions of people gathering to take a dip in the holy water; this is how Kumbh Melas look like. Having great importance for Hindus, Kumbh Mela in India is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm over a stretch of 2 months. This largest religious gathering of the world which has also been recognized by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage is held at four different places (in rotation of 3-4, 6 and 12 years) and can certainly be a sight to relish. The Kumbh that takes place in every 6 years is called Ardh Kumbh, which in literal translation would mean Half Kumbh. Unlike Maha Kumbh (once in 12 years), Ardh Kumbh is only held in only two places in India, one being Allahabad (Prayag) and the other Haridwar. In 2019, one has the chance to be the part of the Ardh Kumbh Mela that will be held in Allahabad, an important destination for Uttar Pradesh tourism seated on the bank of Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati confluence. Devotees take a dip in the holy water at the confluence as it is believed that doing so washes away one’s sins and brings the person one step closer to Moksha (freedom from Sansara (world)). Other than the dips and a large gathering, Allahabad Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019 is likely to have a lot for you to see and experience ranging from the sight of bare body Naga Sadhus smeared with ash to the royal bath to joyous evening aartis. So, if you’re coming to India to witness the Ardh Kumbh Mela, this blog can be your travel guide that can help you prepare your to-do list.
History Behind the Origination of Kumbh Mela
According to Hindu Mythology, a fight broke between gods and demigods during Samudra Manthan (churning of the ocean). This Manthan was done to extract out the ambrosia (Amrit) from the depth of the ocean. After the extraction was complete, the ambrosia was filled in a Kumbh (pot). To seize the Amrit from the demons, Garuda (vehicle of Lord Vishnu) took the pot and flew away. During his flight, he spilled drops of the drink on earth at 4 places namely, Haridwar, Ujjain, Prayag (Allahabad), and Nashik. Making these places as well as the rivers flowing in the cities holy. The Kumbh Mela is said to have originated after this incident and is held ever since with a lot of zeal.
Kumbh Mela is the largest religious & holiest gathering in the world.
Visiting India during Kumbh Mela can be your most significant opportunity to witness Indian Culture and Centuries-old traditions at its best.
United Nations Organization, UNESCO has given Kumbh Fair an intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
The international recognition of Kumbh was the third consecutive title for any Indian tradition after Yoga and Navroj.
According to the expert committee of UNESCO, Kumbh Mela is the most abundant, peaceful religious gathering on earth, where people of different classes participate without any discrimination.
The usual Kumbh Mela held after every three years; the semi Kumbh held every six years in Haridwar and Allahabad (Prayag) while the Maha Kumbh Mela takes place every twelve years, at four locations Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik, based on planetary movements.
Program & Schedule For Kumbh Mela 2019: Kumbh Mela 2019 will Organize At Allahabad
Logo Of Kumbh Mela 2019 Designed By Prasoon Joshi
Slogan Of Kumbh Mela 2019: Chalo Kumbh Chalo-Chalo Kumbh Chalo (Let’s go Kumbh – come on Kumbh)
Every six years in Allahabad are celebrated in the month of January-February when Jupiter is in Aries or Taurus and in Sun and Moon in Capricorn during the Hindu month of Magh.
Starting from 15th January to 04th March 2019, It will once again be the center of attraction and attention from all over the world.
According to estimates, in the Maha Kumbh Mela organized in Allahabad in 2019. More than 2 crore people are estimated to bath on this occasion.
Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimages of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. It is the world’s largest religious gathering. It is held every third year at one of the four places by rotation: Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayag), Nasik and Ujjain. Thus the Kumbh Mela is held at each of these four places every twelfth year. Ardh (“Half”) Kumbh Mela is held at only two places, Hardwar and Allahabad, every sixth year. The rivers at these four places are: the Ganges (Ganga) at Haridwar, the confluence (Sangam) of the Ganges and the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati at Allahabad, the Godawari at Nasik, and the Shipra at Ujjain. Mini Kumbh(Magh) Mela is held every year in Allahabad only.
Ardh Kumbh Mela- Allahabad 2019
In Allahabad every 6 year’s it is celebrated in the month of January-February when Jupiter is in Aries or Taurus and Sun and Moon are in Capricorn during the Hindu month of Magha. In the year 2019, beginning from 15th January to 04th March; all this will once again be the centre of attraction and attention from world over. Estimates suggest that in the Maha Kumbh Mela held in Allahabad in the year 2019, nearly 60 million took a bath at the occasion and if the forecasts are to be believed, the next one will garner an even bigger gathering than the previous one.
Ardh Kumbh Mela Dates 2019 (Allahabad) – Main Bathing (Snan) Dates
The Kumbh Mela to be held in Allahabad (Prayag) in the year 2019 from 15th of January till 4th of March. Below is a table mentioning the important dates of Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019:
Date (2019) Day Event
- 15th January Tuesday Makar Sankranti (1St shahi Snan)
- 21st January Monday Paush Purnima
- 4th February Monday Mauni Amavasya (Main Royal Bath 2nd Shahi Snan)
- 10th February Sunday Basant Panchami (3rd shahi Snan)
- 19th February Tuesday Maghi Poornima
- 4th March Monday Maha Shivratri
HOW TO REACH ALLAHABAD
Travel By Air : Bamrauli airport, 15 km away, is the nearest airport. The airport is connected to metros like Delhi, Kolkata and Lucknow. Flying to Varanasi (120 km) or Lucknow (200 km) is a better option as both the airports are much better serviced. Delhi and Kolkata are the nearest international airports.
Travel By Rail : Allahabad is a major rail head and it is connected to all important cities of India.
Travel By Road : Allahabad has a good connectivity of roads and highways. This highways link all the major domestic cities with Allahabad.
Kumbh Mela because cursed, were crippled of fear that eventually made them weak. The task being too sturdy for them alone, the demigods made a mutual agreement with the demons to complete it in full and share the nectar of immortality in half. It is said that the demigods and the demons assembled on the shore of the milk ocean that lies in the celestial region of the cosmos. And it began!
For the task of churning the milk ocean, the Mandara Mountain was used as the churning rod, and Vasuki, the king of serpents, became the rope for churning. With the demigods at Vasuki’s tail and the demons at his head, the churning began. At first, the churning of the milk ocean produced a deadly poison which Lord Shiva drank without being affected. As Lord Shiva drank the poison, a few drops fell from his hands which were licked by scorpions, snakes, and similar other deadly creatures. Also, during the churning, the Mandara Mountain began to sink deep into the ocean, seeing which Lord Vishnu incarnated as a great tortoise and supported the mountain on His back. Finally, many hurdles and 1000 years later, Dhanwantari appeared with the Kumbh of immortal nectar in his hands. The demigods, being fearful of the demons’ ill intent, forcibly seized the pot with its safety entrusted onto the four Gods – Brahaspati, Surya, Shani, and Chandra.
Demons, after learning that their part of the agreement has not been kept, went after the demigods and for 12 days and 12 nights, the chase continued. Wherever the demigods went with the pot of nectar, fierce fighting ensued. It is believed that during this chase, a few drops from the Kumbh fell at four places – Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nasik. There is also a prevalent legend that it was actually the demons that were being chased by the demigods for 12 days and 12 nights, during which the drops of elixir of immortality fell at these four places. These four places are since believed to have acquired mystical powers. Because 12 days of Gods are equivalent to 12 years for humans; the Kumbh Mela is celebrated once every 12 years in each of the four places – banks of river Godavari in Nasik, river Kshipra in Ujjain, river Ganges in Haridwar, and at the Sangam of Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati in Allahabad, where the drops are believed to have fallen. Millions of devout, come together to partake in ritualistic bathing and ceremonies to cleanse themselves of all sins.
Timeline of Kumbh Mela (Modern Times)
- 1980: Nasik
- 1980: Ujjain
- 1986: Haridwar
- 1989: Allahabad
- 1992: Nasik
- 1992: Ujjain
- 1998: Haridwar
- 2001: Allahabad
- 2003: Nasik
- 2004: Ujjain
- 2010: Haridwar
- 2015: Nasik
- 2016: Haridwar
- 2019: Allahabad