Ritulas of Kumbh Mela, Significance of Kumbh Mela, Kumbha Mela
Mela means a Fair. A Fair is a gathering where different kinds of people get together. People would be able to know the new things and meet new people and know each other. Kumbh a Sanskrit word means pot.
What is Kumbh Mela
Kumbha Mela is one of the major religious gathering in India. People gather at the banks of rivers to take a dip in the holy rivers. The main event as a part of Kumbh Melas is taking a dip in the holy rivers.
Rivers that are a part of Kumbh Mela
The following are the rivers where people would gather at the banks to take a dip
1) River Ganga at Haridwar
2) River Godavari at Nashik or Nasik
3) River Kshipra or Shipra at Ujjain
4) Sangam at Allahabad ( Sangam is the place where it is believed that three rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati meet).
Places where Kumbh Mela is held
Kumbha mela is organized at four major places in the country at different timings. The four places are on the banks of the four rivers;
1) Haridwar (River Ganga)
2) Nashik or Nasik ( River Godavari)
3) Ujjain ( River Kshipra or shipra)
4) Allahabad ( Sangam ( three rivers unite, Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati).
Different kinds of Kumbh Mela
There are three different kinds of Kumbh Mela
1) Ardh Kumbh Mela:
Ardh means Half. Hence Ardh Kumbh Mela occurs in half the time of the normal Kumbh Mela i.e Ardh Kumbh Mela is organized every 6 six years. Ardh Kumbh Mela is organized in Haridwar and Allahabad every 6 six years.
2) Purna Kumbh Mela:
The Kumbh Mela is organized every 12 years. Kumbh Mela is organized in all the fours places Haridwar, Nashik, Ujjain and Allahabad. Purna a Sanskrit word means complete. So the complete duration of a Kumbh Mela is 12 years.
3) Maha Kumbh Mela:
Maha Kumbh is the Kumbh Mela that occurs once in 144 years. The latest Maha Kumbh was held in 2001. Maha Kumbh Mela occurs for every 12 Purna Kumbh Melas.
4) Kumbh Mela:
Kumbh Mela is organized every three years on a rotation basis of Allahabad, Nashik or Nasik, Haridwar and Ujjain.
5) Magh Mela:
Magh Mela is organized annually and is organized in Allahabad only when any of the above four Kumbh Melas are not being organized.
When is Kumb Mela organized?
Kumbh mela is organized in the month of Paush as per the North Indian Calendar. The starting day of the Kumbh Mela is the Paush Purnima and goes on till the completion of the Magh Month.
Planetary Position for deciding the Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela is organized based on the position of Jupiter, Sun and the Moon in a particular Sun or Zodiac Sign
Kumbh Mela at Allahabad is organized when the Sun and the Moon are in the Zodiac Sign of Capricorn (Makar Rashi) and when Jupiter is either in Taurus or Aries.
Kumbh Mela at Haridwar is organized when the Sun is in Aries during the Month of Chaitra and when the Jupiter is in Aquarius.
Kumbha Mela at Ujjain is held when the Jupiter is in Leo and Sun in Aries or when Jupiter, Sun and Moon are in Libra during the Hindu Month of Vaishaka.
Kumbh Mela at Nashik is held when the Jupiter and Sun are in Leo in the month of Bhadrapada.
Significance of Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela is considered the most auspicious bathing festival of India. It is believed that by bathing in the holy rivers of Godavari, Ganga, Kshipra and Sangam during Kumbh Mela would cleanse one from all the sins that were committed. Hence devotees and Sadhus would throng the river banks to have a dip in the holy rivers during the Kumbh Mela.
The Important days of Bath during Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela starts on Paush Purnima and goes on for 45 days. Out of these 45 days below are the important days
The start of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
The eleventh day after the Paush Purnima
Mauni Amavasya Snan:
The bath on the Amavasya day.
Vasanth or Basant Panchami Snan:
The bath on the fifth day after Mauni Amavasya
Rath Saptami Snan:
The bath on the Seventh day after Mauni Amavasya
Bhishma Ekadasi Snan:
The bath on the Eleventh day after Mauni Amavasya
Maghi Purnima Snan:
The last day of Kumb Mela at Prayaga, Allahabad.
Shahi Snan or The Royal Bath of Kumbh Mela
The most important bath of the whole Kumbh Mela is the Shahi Snan or the Royal Bath. It is performed on the Mauni Amavasya day and is considered to be the most auspicious and sacred bath of Kumbh Mela. Millions of devotees would take a dip in the holy rivers on Mauni Amavasya day to get rid of their sins.
Story of Kumbh Mela
Once the Gods were cursed by Sage Durvasa to loose their power and wealth. Sage Durvasa cursed the Gods because of the arrogance they showed towards him because of the wealth and power they had. This made Gods weak and poor. The demons started invading and were easily defeating Gods.
The Gods reached Lord Vishnu and prayed him to help them. Lord Vishnu advised the Gods to churn the ocean of milk from which a pot of nectar or Amrit would come which would help the Gods get their power and wealth back. The Gods were ready but did not have enough power to churn the ocean of milk.
Lord Vishnu then advised the Gods to make peace with the demons and trick them to help them in churning the ocean of milk. The demons readily agreed to help the Gods churn on the condition that they would also get half the part of Amrit that would come out during the process of churning the milk of ocean.
The gods and demons churned the ocean of milk for 12 days ( Each day is equivalent to one year as per the human count).
When the pot of nectar finally emerged the demons and Gods started a war. Lord Vishnu took the form the charming and beautiful lady called Mohini and took the nectar or Amrit with her. Lord Vishnu in the form of Mohini tricked the demons with her charm and supplied the nectar to Gods.
During this process it is believed that four drops of nectar fell from the sky into four holy rivers at four different places. Those are Godavari at Nasik, Ganga at Haridwar, Kshipra at Ujjain and Sangam at Allahabad.
From then onwards devotees are believed to take a bath every twelve years commemorating the day of the Nectar or Amrit.
It is also believed that the particular planetary position in the Zodiac Signs would help them to cleanse their sins simply by taking a dip in the holy rivers during the Kumbh Mela.
Devotees and Sadhus attending Kumbh Mela
A large number of devotees from all over India and abroad would attend the Kumbh Mela. It is believed that all the Sadhus would make it a point to take a dip in the holy rivers during Kumbh Mela. The Naga Sadhu who are completely naked also make it a point to take a dip in the holy rivers during the Kumbh Mela.
Number of Devotees visitng Kumbh Mela
Tens of Millions of devotees would visit the Kumbh Mela. In 2001 it is believed that around 70 million devotees had taken the holy dip in Sangam of Allahabad. In 2007 more than 30 Million devotees had visited the Ardh Kumbh mela at Prayaga. In 2012 Haridwar Purna Kumbh Mela 40 million deovtees had visited.