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Kumbh 2010 in Haridwar

Author: Aditya Pujan | Last Updated: Sat 2 Jan 2010 11:32:50 PM

Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu Pilgrimage. It occurs 4 times every 12 years and rotates among 4 locations : Allahabad (Prayag), where Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati river conerge, Haridwar along Ganga river, Ujjain along the Kshipra river and Nashik along the Godavari river. Looking this way, a Kumbh Mela is held every three years across these four locations.

Ardh Kumbh Mela takes place every 6 years at Haridwar and Allahabad, while the Purna (complete) Kumbh always takes place at Allahabad every 12 years. The Maha Kumbh Mela ('Great' Kumbh Mela) comes after 12 'Purna Kumbh Melas' i.e. after every 144 years is also held at Allahabad only.

For commoners, Kumbh Mela is the biggest religious fair (mela), while for the priesthood, it is a very important theological gathering. Numerous sects of Hindu priests come together to discuss and debate scriptures, to meet their followers, to formally initiate recruits into their akharas (sects) and of course for the holy dip in the river.

Chinese traveller Huang Tsang, who came to India during the reign of king Harshavardhana in India 629-645 AD, was so impressed with this gathering that he he made a special mention of it in his memoirs. He also said that the tradition was already many hundreds of years old. It came from the time of the Vedas, when religious gatherings were held on the banks of rivers.

For many sadhus -- especially those from the Naga (naked) sects -- the Kumbh Mela may be the only time they interact with other people. Little wonder that the sight of hundreds of dreadlocked and ash-smeared naked sadhus -- many armed with spears, tridents, swords and sticks -- marching down to the river in thousands evokes an equal mixture of fear, reverence and curiosity among millions of pilgrims who gather to watch.

Kumbh Mela and Planets
Kumbh mela holds a very close relation with planets. In fact it takes place only at the time of a particular auspicious planetary position. During this time of the year, Jupiter enters into the zodiac sign 'aquarius' and Sun enters into the zodiac sign 'aries'. According to religious belief, millions of visitors join this remarkable event to purify their inner self and take a bath to get rid of their sins. A holy dip in the river is considered to wash away all past sins. It is believed that whoever is taking this bath with complete trust and devotion, can awaken his/her inner consciousness which leads towards enlightenment.

Kumbh Mela, the largest religious gathering in the world, will begin this year in Hardwar on Jan 14 and go on till April 28. Here are the important bathing dates of the Kumbh Mela:

Jan 14: Makar Sankranti
Jan 15: Mauni Amavasya-Suryagrahan Snan (Solar Eclipse and New Moon bathing)
Jan 20: Basant Panchami (Saraswati Puja)
Jan 30: Maagh Purnima
Feb 12: Shree Mahashivratri-Shahi Snan
March 15: Somawati Aamavasya-Shahi Snan
March 16: Shree Ramnavami Snan
March 30: Chaitra Purnima-Vaishnav Akahara Snan
April 14: Mesha Sankranti-Shahi Snan
April 28: Visakh AadhiMaas Purnima Snan
 
More on Kumbh mela soon.
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