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.