So the Kumbh Mela 2019 commenced today in Prayagraj (formerly known as Allahabad) and will go on till March 4 2019. And this year approximately 12 crore people are coming to Prayagraj for Ardh Kumbh.
The first royal bath or Kumbh Mela Snan (Shahi Snan) of the Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019 took place today, on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti and this gathering will continue till 4th March.
So in the last post you saw the pictures of the beautifully painted streets of Prayagraj for the preparation of Kumbh Mela. But do you all know the history of Kumbh and why it is held at these specific places?
If no then do read this post and you will know the history of Kumbh and the reason behind it.
About the Kumbh Mela
The Kumbh Mela is a mass pilgrimage for the Hindu community of India. The Kumbh Mela or Kumbh fair is one of the largest gatherings of sages, yogis, ascetics, mendicants, men, women and children on the planet.
Meaning of Kumbh Mela
In Sanskrit language, the word Kumbh means ‘pot or pitcher’ and Mela means ‘festival’. Thus the Kumbh Mela actually means the “pot of nectar or Amrit.” It occurs four times every twelve years in India and is organised in rotation among four places: Prayagraj (Allahabad ), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik.
Period of Occurrence of Kumbh Mela
After Every four-year cycle Ardh Kumbh is organised. And this year the Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj is “Ardh Kumbh.”
Every twelve-year cycle includes one Purna Kumbh Mela (Great Kumbh Mela) at Prayag. It is believed that is is one of the largest gatherings of the world as around 60 million people attend this Kumbh Mela.
History/ Story of Kumbh Mela
The History of Kumbh Mela is at least 850 years old. It is believed that Adi Shankaracharya had started it, but according to some stories, the beginning of Kumbh was only due to the ancient times of ocean churning also known as “samudra manthan.”
In this Samudra Manthan, a pot of Amrit( nectar) was found and for this Amrit the Devas (gods) and Asuras (demons) were fighting. A long battle was fought between the Devas and the Asuras.
Amidst this battle, Jayanta, the son of Lord Indra (the king of the gods), ran away with the Amrit pot toward the heavenly planets. The demons followed him there also, and the fierce fighting continued for twelve days.
Though the gods ultimately managed to get the pot of nectar or Amrit with the help of Lord Vishnu, yet some of the nectar spilled during this struggle and fell on four places on earth. These four places were- Nashik, in Maharashtra; Ujjain, in Madhya Pradesh; and Haridwar and Prayagraj (Allahabad), in Uttar Pradesh.
Therefore, these four places are considered holy by the Hindus and have become important pilgrim spots in India.
In The Puranas it is mentioned that a day in heaven equals one year on earth. So, to commemorate the auspicious shedding of the nectar on earth, festivals, or ‘mela’s, are held at each of these sites once every twelve years.
Millions of people take dip at these holy places during Kumbh as it is believed to grant immortality to the bather. Also they drink the holy water as drinking the sacred water is considered as nectar, or ‘amrita’.
So this was the story or the history behind Kumbh. As per the Hindu mythology , Kumbh Mela is held on dates when the water of sacred rivers turn into nectar. The exact dates are calculated as per the combination of zodiac positions of Jupiter, the Sun and the Moon.
Swami Vivekananda rightly said, “Above all India is a land of Religion.” So Live Travel in India.