Kumbh Mela is one of the most important festivals of Hinduism. Crores of devotees take bath at Kumbh sites on this festival. The astrology calculation of Kumbh Mela is done after Jupiter enters Aquarius and Sun enters Aries. This festival is organized on different dates of different years at four places like Haridwar, Prayag, Ujjain, Nashik in India.
Except Prayag, Kumbh Snan is organized every 12 years at all other places, in Prayag 2 Kumbhs are organized in an interval of 12 years. In which the first six-year Kumbh is known as Ardh Kumbh and the 12-year Kumbh is known as Poorna Kumbh.
Kumbh Mela 2022
The next Kumbh Mela will be organized in the year 2021 in Haridwar. This year’s Maha Kumbh will have 4 Shahi Snans viz. Mahashivratri – 11 March, Somvati Amavasya – 12 April, Baisakhi Kumbh – 14 April and Chaitra Purnima – 27 April.
Where is the Kumbh Mela held?
The festival of Kumbh Mela is celebrated at four places in India, Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain, Nashik are the four places in India where Kumbh Mela is organized.
Why is Kumbh Mela celebrated? (Why Do We Celebrate Kumbh Mela)
Kumbh is one of the main festivals of Hinduism, historically no specific information is available about its origin, but if Indian history is looked at, it is known that the festival of Kumbh bath in India dates back to around 600 BC. It is being celebrated since time immemorial. Although there is a legend about this festival and on the basis of 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 which, when Indra and the gods became powerless due to the curse of Maharishi Durvasa, taking advantage of their weakness, the asuras attacked the heaven and defeated the gods and expelled them from heaven. Then all the deities, including Indra, reached Lord Vishnu and told him their woes.
On this Lord Vishnu asked Indra to make a pact with the demons and together with them, after churning the ocean, get the nectar and drink it, so that he would regain his power and become immortal. After the churning of the ocean, as soon as the nectar came out, at the behest of the gods, Indra’s son ‘Jayant’ flew into the sky carrying the nectar urn.
Then on the orders of the demon Guru Shukracharya, the demons chased Jayant to get the nectar and after a lot of hard work caught him on the way and after this there was a struggle between the demons and the gods for 12 days to get the nectar. At that time, four drops of the nectar urn fell on the earth in the battle between the gods and the demons.
First drop of nectar fell in Prayag, second drop in Haridwar, third drop in Ujjain and fourth drop in Nasik. This is the reason why this holy festival of Kumbh is celebrated in these four places because twelve days of gods are equal to twelve years of human beings, hence this holy festival of Kumbh is celebrated at an interval of 12 years.
How Kumbh Mela is Celebrated – Custom and Tradition of Kumbh Mela
The history of organizing the Kumbh Mela is quite ancient, scholars believe that the festival of Kumbh in India dates back to around 600 BC. It is being celebrated even before. Historians believe that the present form of Kumbh started during the reign of King Harshavardhana of Ujjain.
In view of the crowd gathering in this festival, preparations are started months in advance at the place of Kumbh. During the Kumbh Mela, there is an almost fair-like atmosphere at the venue during these 50 days and crores of devotees come to take part 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 the akhadas is also called Shahi Snan. Except the one held in Prayagraj, all the three Kumbhs are held at an interval of 12 years. Along with this, a Maha Kumbh is organized every 144 years after 12 full Kumbhs.
Important Dates of Kumbh Snan
Although this festival of bathing in Kumbh Mela starts from Makar Sankranti and lasts for the next fifty days, but in this Kumbh bath there are some important astrological dates, which have special significance, this is the reason why it is important to take bath on these dates. A large number of devotees and sadhus gather for this. These important dates are as follows-
Makar Sankranti On this day the first royal bath is organized.
Mauni Amavasya Second royal bath is organized on this day.
Basant Panchami On this day the third royal bath is organized.
mahashivratri This is the last day of Kumbh festival.
The Kumbh Mela begins with the Shahi Snan. Where many saints take a dip in the holy river of the Kumbh site organized by the saints. Shahi Snan is a major part of Kumbh Mela, the dates of Shahi Snan are announced well in advance. In this bath, the sequence of royal bath of all the thirteen akhadas is determined and before them no one can go down to the river for bath. At times, there are fierce conflicts and clashes among the sadhus regarding the royal bath.
This tradition of royal bath started much later. This tradition of Shahi Snan is believed to have started between 14th and 16th century. This was the time when the invasions of foreign invaders had started one after the other. With the passage of time, seeing the trauma on their religion, the sadhus became very furious and they started taking iron from the Muslim rulers for the protection of religion. Seeing this fighting skills of the Naga Sadhus, many rulers gave them a special place in their armies.
The Muslim rulers themselves took the help of Naga Sadhus many times in battle and in return for their help, paying special respect to them, decided to give them the opportunity to bathe before ordinary people. Simultaneously, the heads of these Naga sadhus were taken to the bathing place on palanquins and chariots like kings. Due to its grandeur and majestic opulence, this bath got the name Shahi Snan.
During the royal bath, sages and saints, elephants and horses come to take a bath sitting on gold and silver palanquins. This bath takes place on a special Muhurta, on which all the sadhus gather on the shore and shout slogans loudly. It is believed that one attains immortality by taking a dip in the river during this Muhurta. This Muhurta starts at around 4 pm. After the sadhus, the general public is given the opportunity to take a bath.
Modern Tradition of Kumbh Mela
In the present period, many changes have taken place in the Kumbh Mela. Out of which most of the changes are very good and they have done the work of increasing the importance of the festival of Kumbh even more. In the earlier times, the Kumbh Mela was organized in a very chaotic manner and due to no rules and regulations, there used to be bloody conflicts among the sadhus over the first bath. Due to which many common people had to lose their lives along with the sadhus.
In the 19th century, many improvements were made by the British regarding the arrangement of Kumbh Mela. In which many important changes like cleanliness and order control were made. There is a lot of security, cleanliness and traffic arrangements in the Kumbh Melas organized in today’s time. Along with this, the sequence of royal bath is also fixed so that there is no mutual conflict between the sadhus.
History of Kumbh Mela
The history of Kumbh is quite ancient, historians believe that this festival dates back to about 600 years BC. is also being celebrated. Its present form was started during the reign of King Harshavardhana. There are many historical and mythological stories about the origin of this festival. The first story of the origin of the Kumbh Mela is described in the Puranas of Hinduism.
According to the legend, when Lord Indra became powerless due to the curse of Rishi Durvasha. Then, under the leadership of Daityaraj Bali, the demons attacked the heaven and defeated the gods, and after driving them out of heaven, established their suzerainty there. Then all the deities reached Lord Vishnu for help and narrated all their troubles to him.
Then Lord Vishnu said that you are not right for the gods and you should spend this time in a friendly manner. Along with this, he advised the gods to churn the ocean together with the demons in Ksheer Sagar and after drinking the nectar emanating from it, regain their powers by becoming immortal.
Then the gods, obeying Lord Vishnu, started the work of churning the ocean together with the demons. When Dhanvati appeared with the nectar urn at the end of the churning of the ocean, Indra’s son Jayant took the nectar urn and flew into the sky after receiving the gesture of the gods. After this, after getting the signal of Daityaguru Shukracharya, Daitya started chasing Jayant and after much difficulty caught him.
After this incident, there was a war between the gods and the demons for twelve days over the attainment of nectar, during which some drops of nectar fell on the earth and the four places where these drops fell, at present Kumbh Mela is organized at the same four places. Because the twelve days of the gods are equal to the twelve years of the earth. This is the reason that this festival of Kumbh is celebrated every 12 years.