Festivals are a major reflection of religious beliefs and practices. Becoming a part of these celebrations can help you in going back to the cultural roots of a place. Hinduism, just like other religions has its majestic tales and beliefs to pass on. The Kumbh Mela is a prominent Hindu pilgrimage that is embedded in the history and mythology of India. The diversity of rituals, beliefs, colors, and emotions will leave you with majestic memories for a lifetime.
History of Kumbh Mela
The Kumbh Mela is one of the most fascinating and largest religious gatherings in the world. According to the ancient scripts, a similar gathering called the ‘Magh Mela’ was held for religious debate and pilgrims dipped in holy rivers to atone for their sins and seek salvation. The Kumbh Mela is the collective manifestation of such practices in the present age. ‘Kumbh’ is the Sanskrit word for the vessel which contained the immortal nectar or ‘Amrita’ as per the Hindu legends. There was a churning competition between the Gods and Demons to possess the nectar.
Today, every pilgrim who willingly goes to the Kumbh Mela can savor its magic by dipping in the holy rivers. People who understand spirituality can easily discover the significance of this ‘immortal nectar’. A dip in the holy waters during the Kumbh Mela is known to cleanse your soul of all the sins committed in your lifetime. After centuries of development, this spiritual concept is still thriving and attracting millions of people from various niches of the world. Pilgrims from different religions share similar beliefs and emotions for this grand gathering. It is considered one of the largest peaceful gatherings to ever exist.
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Where and When is Kumbh Mela celebrated?
In 2021, Kumbh Mela will begin on 14th January and ends on 27th April. The Kumbh Mela associates itself with four historic cities of India- Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain. The immense cultural importance of these cities comes from the Kumbh Mela itself. The main ritual of dipping in the river is performed on the banks of various sacred rivers. The Sangam or convergence of three rivers- Ganges, Yamuna, and Saraswati in Allahabad is the most significant site of the Kumbh Mela.
Similarly, the festival is celebrated on the banks of Ganges in Haridwar, the Godavari in Nashik, and the Kshipra in Ujjain. Each of these cities is honored with the festivities of the Kumbh Mela every twelve years. You can perceive magical sights and inhale the spiritual air every three years at different locations. The twelve-year cycle starts and ends with the Purna Kumbh in Allahabad or Prayag. With the completion of twelve cycles of the Purna Kumbh Mela, the day of Maha Kumbh arrives, once in 144 years. It is an experience of a lifetime because you will not witness another. And you are blessed because the next Maha Kumbh will be held in 2021. The extent of the celebration can be measured by the fact that the festivities last for approx three months around the significant bathing dates.
Auspicious Bathing Dates for Kumbh Mela 2021
The excitement for the occasion is overwhelming and Haridwar is all set to show to the world why Kumbh Mela is recognized as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. It will be a reunion of millions of devotees with the sacred rituals of the festival to celebrate the washing off of all sins. The Maha Kumbh Mela will start on the 14th of January 2021, on the day of Makar Sakranti, and go on till the 27th of April 2021 which will be celebrated as the Chaitra Purnima.
The most auspicious dates for Snan are 14th January (Makar Sakranti), 11th February (Mauni Amavasya), 16th February (Basant Panchami), and 21st April (Ram Navmi). The Shahi (Royal) Snan dates are as follows- 11th March (Maha Shivratri), 12th April (Somvati Amavasya), 14th April (Baisakhi), and 27th April (Chaitra Purnima).
Rituals and Sadhus at The Kumbh Mela
To get an amazing experience at the Kumbh Mela you should never miss the cultural events taking place along with the bathing ritual. Although, dipping in the holy water is the major ritual the essence of the celebration is depicted through the diverse cultural events.
The Sadhus or Holy men are the most exciting and spectacular part of the celebration. There are 13 divisions of Sadhus known as ‘Akharas’ based on their distinct practices and beliefs. You can just watch them engrossed in spirituality or seek enlightenment in their words of wisdom. There are Nagas, Urdhwavahurs, Parivajakas, Kalpavasis, and several others who come together to rejoice in the sacred festival. Performances of folk dances, divine singing, and mythological plays are the highlights of the on-site festival. You can on an artistic ride around the Indian art and culture through various exhibitions and handicraft stalls.
How to Attend the Kumbh Mela?
The extent of the Kumbh Mela does not make it an experience of luxury and serenity. It is the manifestation of life itself which is colorful, adventurous, chaotic, and spiritual. To attend the Kumbh Mela in an organized way it is advised to go with online booking and plan the whole experience.
As the bathing dates are limited more so for the Royal bath or Shahi Snan, it is better to be on the safe with advanced online booking. Special Holidays organizes tours that are dedicated to providing the most memorable moments to you and your loved ones.
How to Reach the Kumbh Mela?
The site of Maha Kumbh Mela 2021, the spiritual city of Haridwar is situated on the banks of the Ganges in Uttarakhand. As per your convenience, you can choose any means of transport- a flight, railways or roadways. If you are in a hurry then pack your bags and book a flight to the Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun. It will take around an hour to reach your destination. Or you can directly step into Haridwar by boarding a train from various places around India. For a shorter distance, visitors can travel to Haridwar in buses which are likewise convenient.
Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on The Kumbh Mela
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a continuous doubt hovering over the celebration of the Kumbh Mela. However, the festival is going to take place with all its zeal and enthusiasm accompanied by certain restrictions and precautions. Online bookings for the entry are mandatory and you cannot just go with the flow. To make sure you fulfill your desire to dip in the holy waters at the once in a lifetime Maha Kumbh Mela you must trust us and make your booking today!