The annual event of Kumbh Mela Allahabad, the largest religious gathering in the world, is much bigger and even better this year. The Kumbh Mela is often spread across a radius of 20km but this year it is sprawled over 45km. It started on the 15th of January and will continue till the 4th of March 2019.
We hear and even watch a lot of Kumbh Mela on media, but what exactly is it? What is its significance? Let’s learn all about it in this article.
Kumbh Mela is held once every three years. It is held at Haridwar, Prayagraj, Ujjain, and Nasik. It returns to each of these cities after a span of 12 years. These are the places where the country’s four sacred rivers The Ganges, The Shipra, The Godavari, and The Jamuna. The Kumbh Mela also made its place in the “Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.
The city of Prayagraj is observing the first Ardh Kumbh Mela that started on 15th January 2019 after its rechristening. The festivities of the mela end on March 4th, 2019. The mela can sound like a mystery to those who haven’t been a part of it.
The first royal bath, also known as Shani Snan will be held on the day of Makar Sankranti. This is the day when all the religious groups come together to take a dip at the “Triveni Sangamam” at Prayagraj. The second royal bath, known as Paush Poornima was taken on the 21st of January, a full moon day. The last bath of the mela will be taken on the 4th of March 2019, on the auspicious day of Maha Shivratri.
The Kumbh Mela is always held of those days when the water from the four holy rivers confluence and as per ancient history, such waters from the Sangam of sacred rivers forms into nectar. The dates are previously calculated based on astrological positions of the Sun, the Moon and the planet Jupiter. The Ardh Kumbh Mela started on 15th January, when as per astrological charts, Jupiter is placed in Aries and both the Sun and the Moon are placed in Capricorn. This happens during Magha (the Hindu month).
The Kumbh Mela is of a high significance to Hindus, who believe that taking a bath in these holy waters during these auspicious days will wash away their sins. They also believe that they get blessed by the Gods.
If you have been a part of Kumbh Mela, you would certainly know what Peshwai is. It is an important part of the festivities, which marks the start of the mela. It is also known to be a vital ritual that is carried out at every Kumbh Mela. Peshwai is a very grand procession that is carried out to welcome visitors from all over the world. A number of routes surrounding the Ghats are demarcated and the processions are led by saints who come from different Akharas.
Amazing Facts You Need to Know About Kumbh Mela Allahabad
Kumbh Mela Allahabad is a festival of faith and joy which is celebrated with many flavors. With the Kumbh Mela happening at Prayagraj this year, let us have a look at some facts that make the festival unique.
The word “Kumbh” means nectar. The actual story behind the Kumbh mela can be taken back to the time when the gods resided on our Earth. After a curse from Sage Durvasa, the powers of the Gods were weakened and this is when havoc was created by the demos or the asuras. Lord Brahma advised the gods to churn out the nectar that provides immortality by taking the help from the demons. When the asuras knew that the gods did not want to share the nectar, they chased them for 12 days. It is said that the nectar fell at four places during this chase, and this is where the Kumbh Mela is held every three years.
Holy men from various Hindu sects attend the Kumbh Mela Allahabad. Some of the sects are the Nagas, the Kalpwasis, and the Urdhawavahurs. Holy men from these sects attend the festival to perform rituals pertaining to their groups. The festival of Kumbh Mela is more than 2000 years old. The written evidence of this mela was found in the books of a Chinese traveler named Xuanzang, who visited the country during the rule of King Harshavardhana.
Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj and Cultural Events
Prayagraj as a city (once Allahabad) is very well connected by rail, road, and air. The airport is located at Bamrauli and the city has four railways stations. The government has also made plans to use the inland waterways for transportation of pilgrims from Varanasi, which is located at a distance of 60 km. Four floating terminals have been set up once at Kila Ghat, one at Saraswati Ghat, one at Sujawan Ghat and at Naini Bridge. Two small boats have also been arranged for easy movement of the pilgrims.
The government has also planned to start an airboat service by the 26th of January. This airboat cruises up to 80 km per hour and can be used even at a depth of 10 centimeters. As per the government stats, more than 15 crore people are expected to visit the Kumbh Mela this year at Prayagraj and special security arrangements to have been made. Temporary fire and police stations too have been set up. There are CCTV cameras all around and more than 20,000 policemen and 1100 fireguards on the job during the mela.
Temporary thematic gates are also placed in various areas of the mela, all of which are very strategically placed. These gates will mark the entry to the different sections of the mela and the approach roads. Each of these is unique and is inspired by tradition and socio-religious factors.
The government has also made provisions for a special laser and sound show which is expected to be an added attraction. The show was started much earlier to the commencement of the Kumbh.
There are also five cultural pandals that display various cultural and spiritual programs like music, folk dances, and the Ganga Pandal is the largest among them, with a megastructure.
Now that you are aware of the facts related to Kumbh Mela Allahabad, it is time you book a tour to the religious place via Book Tours Online. The holiday packages from Book Tours Online are affordable and can also be customized based on your requirements. Make your booking today and take a dip in the holy waters of the sacred rivers and wash away your sins.