Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is the most revered religious fair in India and sees a large gathering of visitors every time.  Hindus gather at the Ganges in Haridwar, river Kshipra in Ujjain, river Godavari in Nasik and the Triveni Sangam in Allahabad to take a dip in holy waters and wash away their sins.

The location of the Kumbh Mela alternates between Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik and is decided by the positions of Sun and planet Jupiter.

Kumbh Mela or Purna Kumbh Mela takes place every 12 years while Ardh Kumbh Mela is held 6 yearly and Maha Kumbh Mela comes after 12 Purna Kumbh Melas, i.e. 144 years, which is once in a lifetime event.

The origin of Kumbh Mela is found in Bhagwat Purana and has various legends associated to it.

Kumbh Mela has a starry attraction for both believers and non-believers and is attended by millions of yogis, sadhus, pilgrims and tourists from all over the world.

This is one time in years when Sadhus, who have confined themselves to remote forests and mountain caves, come out of their shells to perform the holy rituals on the banks of the holy rivers revered by the devotees.

Most popular of all are the Naga Babas, who are prominent and identified by their sheer nakedness. Their bodies are camouflaged only by ash and hair are worn in deadlocks. Naga Babas from different akharas (groups) gather here, each with varied characteristic rituals but one single purpose, that of obtaining salvation!

A huge temporary city is created at the site to cater to inflow of millions of pilgrims who gather here to take a dip in the holy waters on the days declared as auspicious bathing days. A dip in the holy water on these days is said to liberate one’s soul from the incessant cycle of birth and death.

The next Kumbh Mela will be held at Ujjain from 22 Apr 2016 to 21 May 2016.


Legend of Kumbh Mela

As the legend goes, the origin of Kumbh Mela is linked to the mythological event of ‘Amrit Manthan’.

It all started with a curse invoked upon the Gods by Durvasa Muni. The sage was offended by a gesture made by Lord Indra in response to the respect former bestowed upon him.

As a result of the curse, the gods began to lose their power and wealth significantly, while, the demons remained strong. This worried the Gods who got together and held a meeting with Lord Brahma, the Creator of the Universe. Lord Brahma advised the Gods to churn the ocean with the help of the demons to obtain the pitcher of elixir (amrit) which alone could help them regain their vitality.

Long debates were carried out between Gods and demons to decide on the division of the treasures to be obtained from the ocean. However, the pitcher of elixir remained the point of conflict. Elixir is said to be the essence of life and immortality and hence none of Gods and demons would give up their claim to it.

Mandara mountain was chosen to act as the churning rod, while, Vasuki, the King of the serpents volunteered to act as the churning rope.

Of the various things to be churned out of the ocean, was the deadliest of poisons which would have finished whole of mankind. Lord Shiva volunteered to drink it all for the sake of mankind. Thence, the Gods and demons started churning the ocean, with Gods at Vasuki’s tail end and demons at his head end.

They churned the ocean for 1000 years at a stretch. Pleased with their persistent hard work, Lord Dhanwantari, the divine healer or the physician of Gods, appeared from the ocean with pitcher of elixir.

Now, a battle ensued between the Gods and the demons for the same for 12 days and 12 nights (equivalent to 12 human years). While the battle was on, the pitcher was kept down on the earth at various spots and four drops of elixir fell on the earth at Haridwar, Ujjain, Nasik and Allahabad, where Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years in rotation.


Simhastha Kumbh Mela

The location or venue of Kumbh Mela is decided according to planetary positions. Kumbh Mela is celebrated in Ujjain when Jupiter ascends into sun sign Leo, hence the name ‘Simhastha’.

Located on the western boundary of the state of Madhya Pradesh, Ujjain lies on the banks of Shipra River where crores of devotees come to take a dip to achieve salvation during the Kumbh Mela held here every twelve years.

The city of Ujjain is one of the saptapuris, i.e. the seven sacred cities of Hindus that grant liberation from the cycle of birth and death, the others being Ayodhya, Dwarka, Haridwar, Kashi (Varanasi), Kanchipuram and Mathura.

Ujjian is said to be the seat of Mahakaleshwar, the Lord of all times and presents a rare combination of a Shaktipeetha and a Jyotirlinga being in the same place.

A temple dedicated to Lord Mahakaleshwar, Mahakaleshwar Mandir, which has been mentioned in ancient puranas, is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas while Harsiddhi Temple is one of the main Shaktipeethas where Sati’s elbow had fallen. When in Ujjain, these two temples top the list of places to visit in Ujjain.

For the convenience of devotees attending Simhastha Kumbh Mela 2016, 13 ghats have been established in Ujjain, the main Ghat being Ram Ghat where Sandhya aarti is performed ceremoniously each day of a year with devotion and love.

Around 5 crore devotees are expected to visit Sunhastha Kumbh Mela in 2016 and the city is being prepared accordingly with camps, toilets and ATMs being put up in Mela area.


Auspicious Dates For Bathing in Simhasth Kumbha Mela, 2016 at Ujjain are:


22nd April 2016 (Fri):            Punima(Full Moon) – First Snan

6th May 2016 (Fri):                Vaisakh Krishna Amavasya

9th May 2016 (Mon):             Shukla Akshay Tritiya – Second Snan

11th May 2016 (Wed):          Shukla Panchmi

17th May 2016 (Sat):             Ekadashi & Pradosh Snan

21st May 2016 (Sat):            Purnima -- Shahi Snan


Ardh Kumbh Mela 2016 at Haridwar

In the year 2016, while Ujjain will be hosting Simhastha Kumbh Mela, Haridwar will be hosting Ardh Kumbh Mela which is held every six years in Haridwar and Allahabad alternately.


Auspicious dates for bathing in Ardh Kumbh Mela 2016 at Haridwar are:

14 Jan (Thurs):                       Makar Sankranti

12 Feb (Fri):                           Basant Panchami

22 Feb (Mon):                        Magh Purnima

07 Mar (Mon):                       Mahashivratri

07 Apr (Thurs):                      Chaitra Amavasya

08 Apr (Fri):                           Chaitra Shukla Pratipada

14 Apr (Thurs):                      Mesha Sankranti

15 Apr (Fri):                           Ram Navami

22 Apr (Fri):                           Chaitra Shukla Purnima



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