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Kumbh Mela

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Kumbh Mela

About Kumbh Mela:

  • Kumbh Mela  is a major pilgrimage festival in Hinduism.
  • It is celebrated in a cycle of approximately 12 years.
  • It takes place on the banks of the Godavari river in Nashik, the Shipra river in Ujjain, the Ganges in Haridwar, and the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati river in Prayag. The confluence is referred to as the ‘Sangam‘.
  • During Kumbh mela participants bathe or take a dip in a sacred river.
  • It is also a celebration of community commerce with numerous fairs, education, religious discourses by saints, mass feedings of monks or the poor, and entertainment spectacle. 
  • The festival is traditionally credited to the 8th-century Hindu philosopher and saint Adi Shankara, as a part of his efforts to start major Hindu gatherings for philosophical discussions and debates along with Hindu monasteries across the Indian subcontinent.
  • However, there is no historic literary evidence of these mass pilgrimages called “Kumbh Mela” prior to the 19th-century. 
  • The weeks over which the festival is observed cycle at each site approximately once every 12 years based on the Hindu luni-solar calendar.
  • The festival is one of the largest peaceful gatherings in the world, and considered as the “world’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims”. 
  • It has been inscribed on the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Types of Kumbh Melas

  • Maha Kumbh Mela: It is held only in Prayagraj. It comes every 144 years or after 12 Purna (Complete) Kumbh Mela.
  • Purna Kumbh Mela: It comes every 12 years. Mainly held at 4 Kumbh Mela Places in India i.e. Prayagraj, Haridwar, Nashik and Ujjain. It rotates every 12 years at these 4 places.
  • Ardh Kumbh Mela: It means Half Kumbh Mela which is held every 6 years in India only at two places i.e. Haridwar and Prayagraj.
  • Kumbh Mela: Held at four different places and is organised by the state governments. Millions of people participate with spiritual enthusiasm.
  • Magh Kumbh Mela: It is also known as Mini Kumbh Mela which is held annually and only at Prayagraj. It is organised in the month of Magh according to the Hindu Calendar.