The Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years and is considered to be one of the most important religious events in India. Legends have it that the nectar of immortality spilt over the region when the pitcher
(Kumbha) containing it broke, this accidental piece of fortune is commemorated by the celebration of the Kumbh
Mela. This fair is celebrated in 4 places – Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and
Ujjain. People, from all over the world, come to participate in this momentous event, drawn by their curiosity about the exotic traditions and the religious mysticism of India. A large number of sadhus gather on the banks of the Ganges to take a dip in the holy river and people bath at the
'Har ke Pauri' Ghat at Haridwar on this auspicious occasion. Every six years a similar fair is held in these places but on a smaller scale and this event is known as Ardh Kumbh
Mela. The last full scale Kumbh Mela was held in 1998, the first Kumbh Mela of the next millennium will be held in the year 2010.
Astrologically - during this battle the planets too played an important role. The Kumbh Mela takes place when the Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries. This planetary position is said to medicate the waters of Ganges, and turns into nectar on these days, thereby attracting millions to purify their inner-self through holy bathing rituals.
The pilgrimage occurs four times every twelve years, once at each of the four locations. Each twelve-year cycle includes the Maha (great) Kumbha Mela at Prayag (Allahabad), attended by millions of people, making it the largest pilgrimage gathering around the world.
Kumbha is a unique event that blends religious and social features alike. Kumbha Mela is attended by millions of people on a single day. A ritual bath at a predetermined time and place is the major event of this festival.
Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men, women and the poor, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardized. Kumbha Mela (especially the Maha Kumbha Mela) is the most sacred of all the Hindu pilgrimages. Thousands of holy men/women (monks, saints, sadhus) grace the occasion by their presence. The auspiciousness of Kumbha Mela is in part attributed to the gathering of thousands of holy men/women at one place on earth
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