What is the Kumbh?
Kalash is called Kumbh. Kumbha means pitcher. This festival is related to the nectar which came out during the sea churning. When the god-asura(demons) was snatching the nectar kalash from each other, some drops of it fell in the three rivers of the earth. Kumbh is organized at the place where these drops fell. The names of those three rivers are: – Ganga, Godavari and Shipra.
History of Kumbha Mela
Kumbh Mela has its own religious importance which is held every 12 years. No doubt it is the largest gathering of faith in which from the whole of the world people participate and take bathe in the sacred or holy river. These places are Haridwar on the Ganges in the Uttarakhand, Ujjain on the Shipra river in Madhya Pradesh, Nashik on the Godavari river in Maharashtra and Prayagraj at the confluence of three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati in the Uttar Pradesh.
The history of Kumbh Mela is related to the days when the Devtas and the Demons conjointly produced nectar of immortality as depicted by the legends. The Devtas and the demons agreed to complete the task together and decided to share the nectar of immorality in half, there was a war for twelve consecutive days between the Devtas and the Demons over the authority of nectar, which are like twelve years of humans. Hence, Kumbh is also twelve. Four of them are Kumbh on Earth and eight Kumbh in Devaloka.
The Devtas and the demons then assembled on the shore of the milk ocean that lies in the celestial region of the cosmos. The churning of the milk ocean produced a deadly poison which Lord Shiva drank without being affected. After crossing through many hurdles years later, Dhanwantari appeared with the nectar of immortality in her hands.
The story of Samudra Manthan that the Kumbh festival is directly related to the stars. It took to Jayant 12 days to take the Amrit Kalash to Swargalok. One day of God is equal to 1 year of humans. That is why every 12th year Kumbh festival is organized at different pilgrimage places according to the order of stars.
Types of Kumbh Melas
Maha Kumbh Mela: It is held only in Prayagraj. It comes in every 144 years or after 12 Purna (Complete) Kumbh Mela.
Purna Kumbh Mela: It comes every 12 years. Mainly held at 4 Kumbh Mela Places in India i.e. Prayagraj, Haridwar, Nashik and Ujjain. It rotates every 12 years at these 4 places.
Ardh Kumbh Mela: It means Half Kumbh Mela which is held every 6 years in India only at two places i.e. Haridwar and Prayagraj.
Kumbh Mela: Held at four different places and is organised by the state governments. Millions of people participate with spiritual enthusiasm.
Magh Kumbh Mela: It is also known as Mini Kumbh Mela which is held annually and only at Prayagraj. It is organised in the month of Magh according to the Hindu Calendar.
Main Bathing Dates of Kumbh 2021 Haridwar