Festivals in India · Incredible India · India · Travel Trivia

Kumbh Mela – The Largest Gathering on Earth

Kumbh Mela.jpg
Kumbh Mela Gathering

The Kumbh Mela is considered to the largest religious gathering on the earth. Traditionally the Kumbh Mela is organized at 4 places in India and are recognized as the: the Haridwar Kumbh Mela, the Allahabad Kumbh Mela, the Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha and the Ujjain Simhastha. The fairs are held periodically in the order of Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain. At any given place the Kumbh Mela is organized in every 12 years. Though there is no precise method of estimating the number of pilgrims, An estimated 120 million people visited Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013 in Allahabad over a two-month period, including over 30 million on a single day, on 10 February 2013. The Mela is held at such a scale the Harvard conducted a Case Study to understand the how can a fair at so large scale can be coordinated so effectively. Some even say that the Kumbh Mela is more organised than the Fifa World Cup itself!
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The gathering so huge that it is claimed that the gathering is visible through space as well. While the Kumbh continuous for around a month the saints from all over the world come in the mela to take a dip in the holy river and the photographers from all over the world comes to capture this mammoth. While the government starts preparing for the mela for more than a year before it is actually held. Government provides for the basic shelter and food, it is not pre-decided that which tent belongs to whom so the saints come and occupy the the tents as they find them free. Masses not only visit the Kumbh for the holy bath bus also see the unique ways in which these saints offer themselves to God.

Naga bana in Kumbh Mela.jpg

Story behind of Kumbh Mela:

Kumbh’s history originates from the beginning of the Creation of universe. The Gods had lost their strength, and to regain it, they thought of churning the Ksheera Sagara (Primordial Ocean of milk) for amrit (the nectar of immortality), this required them to make a temporary agreement with their arch enemies, the demons or Asuras to work together, with a promise of sharing the nectar equally thereafter. However, when the Kumbha (urn) containing the amrita appeared, a fight ensued. For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the gods and demons fought in the sky for the pot of amrita. It is believed that during the battle, the celestial bird, Garuda the vehicle of Vishnu flew away with the Kumbha of elixir, and that is when drops of amrita fell at four places on earth: Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik, and that is where the Kumbh Mela is observed every twelve years. The next kumbh mela is scheduled to be held in Ujjain from April 2016 to May 2016.

Ujjain (Simhastha) Mahakumbh 2016 Schedule and Important Dates:

22 April 2016 Mahakumbh Start
01 May 2016 Pancheshani Yatra Start
03 May 2016 Yatra Ka Samapan (end date of yatra)
06 May 2016 Mesh ka Surya + Chandra ke sath simhs ke guru ka yog
09 May 2016 Akshaya Tritiya
11 May 2016 Shankracharya Jayanti
17 May 2016 Mohini Ekadashi
19 May 2016 Pradosh
21 May 2016 Pramukh Shahi Snan (Main Bathing Date)
“It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvellous to our kind of people, the cold whites.”
— Mark Twain in 1895, after visiting the Kumbh Mela

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