Kumbh Mela 2013

Kumbh Mela (कुम्भ मेला) is a mass Hindu pilgrimage in which Hindus gather at the Ganges river.

The Ardh (half) Kumbh Mela is celebrated every six years at Haridwar and Allahabad, the Purna (complete) Kumbh takes place every twelve years,[1] at four places Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik). The Maha (great) Kumbh Mela which comes after 12 'Purna Kumbh Melas', or 144 years, is held at Allahabad.

According to the Mela Administration's estimates, around 70 million people participated in the 45-day Ardh Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, in 2007.

Timing

Kumbh Mela is celebrated at different locations depending on the position of the planet of Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) and the sun. When Jupiter and the sun are in the zodiac sign Leo (Singh Rashi) it is held in Trimbakeshwar, Nashik; when the sun is in Aries (Mesha Rashi) it is celebrated at Haridwar; when Jupiter is in Taurus (Vrishabha Rashi ) and the sun is in Capricorn (Makar Rashi) Kumbha Mela is celebrated at Prayag; and Jupiter and the sun are in Scorpio (Vrishchik Rashi) the Mela is celebrated at Ujjain. Each site's celebration dates are calculated in advance according to a special combination of zodiacal positions of Sun, Moon, and Jupiter.

 

History

The first written evidence of the Kumbha Mela can be found in the accounts of Chinese traveler, Huan Tsang or Xuanzang (602 - 664 A.D.) who visited India in 629 -645 CE, during the reign of King Harshavardhana. However, the observance dates back many centuries to ancient India's Vedic period, where the river festivals first started getting organised.Bhagavata Purana In Hindu mythology, its origin is found in one of the popular s, the Samudra manthan episode (Churning of the ocean of milk), mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, the Mahabharata, and the Ramayana.

The account goes that the demigods had lost their strength by the curse of Durväsä Muni , and to regain it, they approach Lord Bhrama and Lord Shiva than they directed all demigods to Supreme Personalty of Godhead Lord Visnu full stroy read this and after praying to Lord Visnu, He instructed them for churning ocean of milk Ksheera Sagara (primordial ocean of milk) for amrita (the nectar of immortality). This required them to make a temporary agreement with their arch enemies, the demons or Asuras, to work together with a promise of sharing the wealth equally thereafter. However, when the Kumbha (urn) containing the amrita appeared, a fight ensued. For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the gods and demons fought in the sky for the pot of amrita. It is believed that during the battle, Lord Vishnu(Incarnates as Mohini-Mürti) flew away with the Kumbha of elixir spilling drops of amrita at four places: Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik.

Attendance

According to The Imperial Gazetteer of India, an outbreak of cholera occurred at the 1892 Mela at Haridwar leading to the rapid improvement of arrangements by the authorities and to the formation of Haridwar Improvement Society. In 1903 about 400,000 people are recorded as attending the fair. During the 1954 Kumbh Mela stampede at Prayag, around 500 people were killed, and scores were injured. Ten million people gathered at Haridwar for the Kumbh on April 14, 1998. The 1998 Kumbh Mela saw over 10 million pilgrims visiting Hardwar, to take a dip in the holy Ganges river. In 2001, around 1 million people from outside of India and from around the world participated in the Maha Kumbh Mela at Allahabad, with a total participation of approximately 60 million. This mela was unusually significant due to the planetary positions at the time, a pattern that repeats only once every 144 years.

The ritual

Naga Sadhu procession 1998 Kumbh Mela

The major event of the festival is ritual bathing at the banks of the river in whichever town it is being held. Nasik has registered maximum visitors amounted nearly to 75 million. Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men and women and the poor, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardized. Kumbh Mela is the most sacred of all the pilgrimages.[citation needed] Thousands of holy men and women attend, and the auspiciousness of the festival is in part attributable to this. The sadhus are seen clad in saffron sheets with ashes and powder dabbed on their skin per the requirements of ancient traditions. Some, called naga sanyasis, may not wear any clothes even in severe winter.[citation needed] After visiting the Kumbh Mela of 1895, Mark Twain wrote:

" It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvelous to our kind of people, the cold whites. "

 

Recent Kumbha Melas

1894

According to Paramahansa Yogananda in his work the Autobiography of a Yogi, it was on the Kumbha Mela in January 1894 at Allahabad that his Guru Sri Yukteswar met Mahavatar Babaji for the first time.

A procession of Akharas marching over a makeshift bridge over the Ganges river, Kumbh Mela at Prayag, 2001 In 2001, the Kumbh Mela was held in Prayag, aka Allahabad. The India government estimates that about 70 million people came to this festival in north India to bathe in the holy river Ganges where it meets with the also holy Yamuna river. Bathing in the holy waters at this auspicious time is said to wash away your karmic debt. Therefore, it is literally a shortcut to spiritual liberation (moksha), the liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

2003

When the Kumbha Mela was held in Nashik, India, from July 27 to September 7, 2003, 39 pilgrims (28 women and 11 men) were trampled to death and 57 were injured. Devotees had gathered on the banks of the Godavari river for the maha snaan or holy bath. Over 30,000 pilgrims were being held back by barricades in a narrow street leading to the Ramkund, a holy spot, so the sadhus could take the first ceremonial bath. Reportedly, a sadhu threw some silver coins into the crowd and the subsequent scramble led to the stampede.

The Purna Kumbha Mela will again be held at Prayag in the year 2013 (January 27 to February 25)

Here is the details of most auspicious days (Bathing Dates)in year 2013 during Maha Kumbh Festival (mela).

27th January 2013(Sunday) – Paush Purnima

6th February 2013 (Wednesday) – Ekadashi Snan

10th February 2013 (Sunday) – Mauni Amavasya Snan (Main Bathing Day)

15th February 2013 (Friday) – Basant Panchami Snan

17th February 2013 (Sunday) – Rath Saptami Snan

18th February 2013(Monday) – Bhisma Ekadashi Snan

25th February 2013(Monday) – Maghi Purnima Snan