Kumbh Mela - A Mass Gathering of Hindu Devotees
Fairs and Festival Tours in India
The ‘Maha Kumbh Mela’ or the festival of the great urn is symbolic of attainment of Nirvana.
Moksha’,’Nirvana’or Salvation held by many as the ultimate aim of human life is not easy to attain. It is central to the festivities at Prayag or Ancient Allahabad in north India. Prayag is significant as it is that three rivers namely Saraswati which is not physically visible but is believed to flow underneath the earth and the Ganges and the Yamuna merge here and so it is popularly called the ‘Sangam’.The ‘Maha Kumbh Mela’ reserves its origin in the Hindu mythological tale of the ‘Sagar Manthan ‘ or the churning of the ocean which resulted in the pitcher of nectar to arrive from the bottom of the ocean and this holds high significance in Hinduism. Salvation means to attain freedom from the infinite cycle of life and death and Hinduism holds that ‘moksha’ can be attained by the departed soul if the cremated ashes are scattered at the holy waters of Sangam. Every three years millions of Hindu devotees gather in rotation between four major Hindu pilgrims namely Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain in order to have ‘Holy Snan’ which is believed to cleanse the soul. Haridwar one of the cities in the state of Uttarakhand is famous because it is here that the Ganges descends from the Himalayas. Ujjain is in the state of Madhya Pradesh situated along the banks of the Ksipra river and Nasik on the banks of the Godavari river in Maharashtra.
The year 2019 holds its importance in the tradition of Arrdhkumbh and so celebrations are defying all bounds at Allahabad for Paush Purnima (21st January) and Makar Sankranti (15th January).
The festivities include the ‘Mauni Amavasya or the new moon of the saint’s day. It is called so because the devotees do not utter a word until they take a dip into the holy water of the Ganges which is believed to be turned into nector or ‘amrit’ as enabled by the posting of sun, moon and the planets. Venus and Mercury in the zodiac of Capricorn. Spirituality is marked by the naked procession by medicants and the reorganization of the ‘Akahras’.Basant Panchami (10th February), Maaghi Purnima (19th February) and Maha Shivratri(4th March) in 2019 will keep the festivities in continuation among the devotees.
The Kumbh festivities uphold the spirit of the land which boasts of its diversities. .Hinduism is best explored in its diverse forms under the same umbrella of celebrations and different monastic orders ranging from hermits to naga sages and yogis are all gathered in the same arena and the end result is diverse exhibition of spiritual power which is an experience in itself and the best part is that common masses are on the same plane with the yogis thus breaking the barriers. Thus a strange amalgamation of traditional as well as the non-traditional follower of Hinduism, swamis from the interiors of Himalayas and the missionaries from down the South is experienced. People from abroad especially Africa, Japan, Europe, and America are also drawn to the charm of the Kumbh Mela.
The Mela has a mystic appeal to the millions and it only but aggravated by the looks of Digambari sanyasis with their ash smeared faces. Kumbh Mela is one of the most important festivals that pave the way for the spiritual appeal that India holds to the entire world. This has only intensified over the years with the professional working of the Indian tour operators who intend to plan tours in keeping alignment with the Mela. Allahabad lacks air facility but that can be provided by Varanasi and Lukhnow which are well connected with Allahabad. It is well connected through railways from the cities Kolkata, Delhi, Kanpur Chennai, and Meerut. Allahabad is situated on the national highway NH2 and Nh27. Within the city, one has the pleasure of riding in cycles, taxis and auto rickshaws.