Kumbh Mela has its religious significance, which happens every 12 years. In this Mela, devotees reach these holy places worldwide to take a holy bath in the sacred river. The festival's location keeps rotating between four major pilgrimages on the bank of the holy river.
These holy places are Nashik, Ujjain, Haridwar, and Ujjain on the Godavari, Shipra, Ganges, and prayagraj at the Sangam of three significant rivers, Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati, respectively.
It is a 48 days festival, and crores of devotees come to the holy place to take a bath. Devotees like pilgrims, Sadhvis, Sadhus, ascetics, etc., from all over the world mainly participate in the Kumbh Mela.
Kumbh Mela has its religious significance
The celebration of Maha Kumbh Mela only happens in Prayagraj
Mha Mela celebrates for an extended period with all ritualistic beliefs
The history of the Kumbh Mela is fascinating. Kumbh Mela is a combination of two words, Kumbh and Mela; the meaning of Kumbh is the immortal pot of the nectar, which the gods and demons held as described in the ancient Vedic scriptures known as the Puranas.
The word Mela took from Sanskrit, which means 'assembly' or 'gathering'; in English, it means 'fair.'
The history of Kumbh Mela belongs to those days when gods and demons teamed up to produce nectar, as depicted by the legends. Both the Gods and Demons agreed to complete the assignment together and decided to share equally half. Then they both gathered on the bank of the milk ocean (Dudhsagar), located in the universe's celestial sphere.
After it, there was a war between the two to get the nectar completely. And at that time, the nectar turned into deadly poison later, which lord Shiv consumed. Many years later, after overcoming many obstacles, Dhanvantari occurred with the nectar.
The Kumbh Mela is of 4 types, they are-
Mahakumbh Mela :-The celebration of Maha Kumbh Mela only happens in Prayagraj. It comes after the completion of 12 Kumbh Melas or 144 years.
Ardh Kumbh Mela :- The celebration of Ardh Kumbh Mela only happens in Prayagraj and Haridwar. Ardha means half, which comes after every six years in India.
Purna Kumbh Mela :- The celebration of Purna Kumbh Mela happens in all four places Haridwar, Nashik, prayagraj, and Ujjain. It makes one round in these four places every 12 years.
Magh Kumbh Mela :- The celebration of Magh Kumbh Mela only happens in Prayagraj every year. According to the Hindu calendar, Magha Kumbh Mela falls in the month of Magha. It is also known as Mini Kumbh Mela.
The Gods forcibly sealed the nectar vessel and entrusted its protection to the four gods: Chandra, Surya, Shani, and Brihaspati. Then after, Demons chased the gods for many days.
During that time, a few drops of nectar fell in Haridwar, Nashik, Ujjain, and Prayagraj. Since then, the legends have faith that these four places have gathered various mystical energies.
The battle between the Gods and Demons went on for 12 holy days, equal to 12 years; the celebration of Kumbh Mela happens once in 12 years. The Legend says during these days, the holy river turns into nectar, and many pilgrims across the world visit the Mela to bathe to get rid of all past sins.
The location of Kumbh Mela is determined by the positions of planets in various zodiac signs, such as the Moon, Jupiter, and Sun, during that period. The festival of Kumbh Mela celebrates for an extended period with all ritualistic beliefs, and people from different walks of Life assembled to celebrate this eve.
Kumbh Mila is the biggest festival celebrated in India, and many pilgrims come and celebrate this festival. The written evidence of Kumbh Mila is also present in Bhagwat Puran, and a Chinese traveller Hsuan Tsang visited India during the reign of Harshvardhan.
And the story of Samudra Manthan is present in various holy books like Vishnu Purana, Ramayan, and Bhagavata Purana Mahabharat. After the bath, the other activities which took place are doing Pravachan, kirtan, and Mahaprasad.
In the Kumbh Mela, saints take the first bath, which starts at 3:00 am and is known as Shahi Snan. After the royal bath, the common people could take a bath in the holy river. Presently, both the state and central governments organise the festival and provide facilities to the pilgrims. And that the 48 days of the festival are celebrated with complete joy and enthusiasm, and then the pilgrims wait for the next Kumbh Mela.