Kumbh Mela is one of the most important festivals of Hindu religion. On this festival, crores of devotees take baths at Kumbh sites. The astrological calculation of Kumbh Mela is done when Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries. This festival is organized on different dates in different years at four places in India Haridwar, Prayagraj, Ujjain, and Nashik. At all other places except Prayag, Kumbh Snan is organized every 12 years. In Prayag, 2 Kumbhs are organized at an interval of 12 years. In which the Kumbh held in the first six years is known as Ardha Kumbh and the Kumbh organized in twelve years is known as Purna Kumbh.
Why is Kumbh Mela celebrated?
Kumbh is one of the major festivals of the Hindu religion, there is no specific information available historically about its origin, but if we look at Indian history, it comes to light that the festival of Kumbh Snan in India started around 600 BC. It has been celebrated since time immemorial. However, there is a mythological story about this festival, and based on its astrological calculations, this festival of Kumbh is celebrated on the day of Makar Sankranti. This story of the origin of Kumbh is related to the churning of the ocean. According to this, when Indra and the gods became powerless due to the curse of Maharishi Durvasa, then taking advantage of their weakness, the demons attacked the heaven defeated the gods, and expelled them from the heaven. Then all the gods including Indra reached Lord Vishnu and told him their plight.
On this, Lord Vishnu told Indra to make a treaty with the demons and join them by churning the ocean, getting the nectar, and drinking it so that he would regain his power and become immortal. As soon as the nectar came out after the churning of the ocean, at the behest of the Gods, Indra’s son ‘Jayant’ flew into the sky carrying the nectar pot. Then, on the orders of the demon Guru Shukracharya, the demons chased Jayant to bring the nectar and after a lot of hard work, caught him on the way after this, to get the nectar, the demons went to Kashal.
Shri Ram Mandir (Carnation of Lord Vishnu)
Shri Ram is a carnation of Lord Vishnu and a grand Shri Ram Mandir (Temple) will opened for the general people on 23 January 2024. A record crowd will be gathered to give grandeur and divinity to the life of Lord Rama in Ayodhya.
At that time, during the mutual fight between the Gods and the Demons, four drops of the Amrit Kalash fell on the earth. The first drop of nectar fell in Prayag, the second drop in Haridwar, the third drop in Ujjain, and the fourth drop in Nashik. This is why this holy festival of Kumbh is celebrated at these four places because the twelve days of the gods are equal to the twelve years of humans. Hence this holy festival of Kumbh is celebrated at an interval of 12 years.
How is Kumbh Mela celebrated – customs and traditions
The history of organizing the Kumbh Mela is quite ancient. Scholars believe that the festival of Kumbh started in India around 600 BC. It has been celebrated since before. Historians believe that the present form of Kumbh started during the reign of the glorious king Harshvardhan of Ujjain. Keeping in view the crowd gathering for this festival, preparations are started months in advance at the Kumbh venue. During the Kumbh Mela, there is almost a fair-like atmosphere at the venue during these 50 days and crores of devotees come to participate in this holy bath.
The Kumbh Mela, which begins on the day of Makar Sankranti, always begins with the Peshwai of the Akharas. This bath of Akharas is also called Shahi Snan. Except for the Kumbh held in Prayagraj, all the other three Kumbhs are organized at an interval of 12 years. Along with this, after 12 complete Kumbhs, a Mahakumbh is organized every 144 years.
The Kumbh Mela begins with the royal bath. Where many sages and saints take a dip in the holy river of the Kumbh venue. Shahi Snan is a major part of the Kumbh Mela, the dates of Shahi Snan are announced well in advance. In this bath, the order of the royal bath of all the thirteen Akharas is determined and no one can enter the river for a bath before them. Many times, there is fierce conflict and skirmish among the sadhus regarding the royal bath.
This tradition of royal baths started much later. It is believed that this tradition of royal baths started between the 14th to 16th centuries. This was the time when India started being attacked by foreign invaders one after another. With time, seeing the attack on their religion, the Sadhus became very aggressive and started taking on the Muslim rulers to protect the religion. Seeing the fighting skills of Naga Sadhus, many rulers gave them a special place in their armies.