India’s culture is one of the oldest cultures of the world.
India is a land of diverse culture, heritage, religion, caste and creed. India’s more than one billion people have descended from a variety of races. This has resulted in a vibgyor of fairs and festivals being celebrated throughout the year. The Kumbha Mela or the Kumbha Fair is one of the most important Hindu religious occasions. Kumbh means pitcher.
Kumbh Mela is the largest religious gathering in the world. It is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage that occurs four times in every twelve years and rotates among four locations of India viz.
- Prayag (Allahabad) city located in the southern part of Uttar Pradesh.
- Haridwar - a holy city located in Uttarakhand.
- Ujjain - a historic city of Central India, located in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh.
- Nasik - located in India's State of Maharashtra.
Mela at Prayag is termed as Mahakumbh Mela as it is the largest pilgrimage gathering in the world which collects millions of people on a single day.
According to astrologers, the 'Kumbh Fair' takes place when the planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries once in every 12 years. It is the zodiac sign of Aquarius- a pitcher.
Due to the strong faith and devotion by million of Indians, the mela is getting attention in other parts of the world too. It has got international tag of “the world’s most massive act of faith”. Hiuen Tsiang of China was the first foreigner to mention kumbh mela in his diary.
India is a land of festivals and celebrations. These festivals give an opportunity to the people to come together and share each other's joys. The festival is visited by a variety of saints from all over India. Prominent among them are the bare bodied, ash smeared Naga Sadhus (saints in Hindi) with long matted hairs. It is believed that these saints or Sadhus remain unaffected by the extremities of weather.
To watch the Kumbh Mela processions is to witness the march of the ages. As the holy saints pass by on elephants, horses, palanquins, chariots, cars and camels continually transmitting waves of powerful shakti (energy) to all the people who witness this awe-inspiring and most auspicious event. One is overwhelmed by the palpable spiritual vibrations that pervade the entire atmosphere.
The festivity has truly come into the limelight and acquired fame not just in India, but made its presence felt even abroad. Millions of devotees come from all across the country to witness this distinguished festivity.
Kumbh Mela has a lot of significance for people in India, as it gives them an opportunity to liberate themselves from the sufferings and wash away all their sins. It enables them to take a holy dip in the sacred water and wash away all the sins they have knowingly or unknowingly committed in the past. They face many discomforts while attending this mela as they sleep in open in extreme cold weather. After attending it, devotees lead to simple life to stay free from the moh maya and achieve liberation, an ultimate goal of one’s life.
The devotees who attend the Kumbh Mela, leave with an unforgettable experience and they even pen down this experience as follows:-
- "Bathing in the Ganges River on the most auspicious day of the Maha Kumbha Mela was like basking in nectar. My consciousness was lifted and my perceptions awakened. Kumbh Mela was the most deeply moving experience of my life. There is no expression in our language to describe it adequately."--Tour participant.
- In the last several years, uncountable devotees visited these sacred places and experienced wonderful arrangements and discipline. In the sixth year of the series, ardh kumbh mela is held. Magh mela or mini kumbh is celebrated annually on the banks of the Sangam. The major Kumbh parva or bathing day is the day of Mauni Amavasya, while other significant bathing days are Paush Poornima, Makar Sankranti, Vasant Panchami, Maghi Poornima and Maha Shivratri.