What is Kumbha Mela?
Kumbh Mela, majorly celebrated by Hindus and people following Hinduism, is a huge pilgrimage and festival. This is a big Hindu festival and assembly of millions of devotees, considered the largest gathering in the world for holy baths, prayer, and religious discussions.
Kumbh Mela History and Significance
Vedic texts and a Hindu legend defy the creation of the “pot of Amrita” after the good and evil churning of the ocean of creation. The gods and demons fight over this pot, called the “Kumbh,” of nectar so as to gain immortality. The “Mela” is a Sanskrit language word meaning a big gathering or assembly.
Why is Kumbh Mela celebrated in 4 places?
As per Hindu religious sources, the pot is spilled at four places, making the origin of the four Kumbha Melas at these four places. The places where Kumbh Melas are held are:
- Haridwar in Ganga river
- Prayag at Ganga and Yamuna Junction
- Nashik in Godavari river
- Ujjain in Shipra river
Importance of Kumbha Mela
The visitors taking a bath in these rivers believe that this is the atonement for past mistakes, and this bath purifies them of all their sins. The mela includes many other activities like devotional singing, religious discussions assemblies, etc.
The festival also features a wide range of cultural and entertainment spectacles over the month of celebrations. These include venues of Indian arts, laser light shows, classical dance, musical performances, and other performances from different parts of India.
The themed gates with historic regional architectural diversity, boat rides, tourist walks to historic sites near the river, and opportunities to visit the monastic camps to watch yoga aces and spiritual discourses.
What are the types of Kumbha Melas?
The Types of Kumbh Melas are:
- The Purna Kumbh Mela sometimes just called Kumbh, occurs every 12 years at a given site. According to kumbhmela.com, “The planet Jupiter or Brihaspati is considered as the Guru of Gods. As it takes almost 12 years for Jupiter to transverse to complete the zodiac, the Kumbh is celebrated in accordance at one place after about every twelve years.”
- The Ardh Kumbh Mela also called half Kumbh occurs about every 6 years between the two Purna Kumbha Melas at Allahabad and Haridwar.
- The Maha Kumbh, which occurs after completing 12 Purna Kumbh Melas is celebrated after every 144 years.
Activities at Kumbh
The ritual practices are concluded by celebratory feasts where a massive number of people sit in rows and share a public meal – mahaprasada prepared by volunteers from charitable donations. The Mela attracts millions of pilgrims and visitors who are provided with a safe and pleasant temporary stay at the festival site.
These devotee pilgrims generally stay for a day or two at the festival site, and even some stay the entire month of “Magh” (Hindu Calendar month) during the festival. The pilgrims attend spiritual discourses and fast and pray over the month.
Kumbh Mela - Largest peaceful gathering event
The Kumbh Mela is also the largest peaceful gathering event in the world with approximately 50 million people attending the Allahabad Ardh Kumbh Mela in 2019 and 30 million people attending the Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013.
Guinness World Record(s) for Kumbh 2019
In 2019, a new history was created at Prayagraj Kumbh by creating a Guinness World Record for the “Largest Parade of Buses” in the world. To set this new record, 503 Kumbh Mela Bus Parade was organized in Prayagraj city, breaking Abu Dhabi’s record of “390 Buses Parade”.
The Guinness World Record for “Most Contribution to Painting in 8 Hours” was achieved on 1 March 2019 at the Grand Ganga Pandal in the Kumbh Mela area at Prayagraj.
The target of Swachh(clean) Kumbh 2019 as the largest gathering of people cleaning together at different locations was achieved. This Kumbh Mela has created a Guinness World Record for “the most number of people cleaning floors at multiple locations” in Prayagraj.