Kumbh Mela( Fair)-About Kumbh Fair-Significance of Kumbh Fair-The Sadhus of Kumbh Fair-Kumbh Fair Images

 About Kumbh Fair




The Kumbh Fair is the greatest of the North Indian meals and it has exerted a mesmeric influence over the mind and the imagination of the ordinary Indian from time immemorial.It is held once every three years by rotation, on the banks of the Godavari in Nasik, the Shipra in Ujjain, the Ganga in Haridwar and the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati in Prayag or Allahabad, as it  is now called.The Purana(complate) Kumbh or Maha Kumbh, the biggest and the most auspicious mela, which falls once 
every 12 years, is always at Allahabad, for the Sangam or confluence of rivers is considered to be particulary holy.

The Purana Kumbh is followed by the Ardh Kumbh in importance and this mela falls every six years, when millions of devotees hindu congregate at Allahabad on the banks of holy river, braving the hazards of cold, desease, hunger myriad other privations to gain spiritual salvation and contentmen.

The gods once approached Lord Vishnu seeking the boon of immortaity.Lord Vishnu directed them to the primeval ocean in which were hidden the secrets of life and death.The gods sought the help of the demons, to whom they promised part of the spoils.Making a paddle out of the Mount Mandar and a rope out of serpent Anant Naag, they churned the ocean till it yielded the holy cow an the flying horse, the lyre and Vishwakarma.Finally. Dhanvantari, the divine physician, emerged holding the kumbh(picherer) of amrit (the elixir of life) that could bestow immortality.  As both the demons and the gods lunged for the pot, Dhanvantari changed himself into a rook and flew off to the heavens with the pitcher.On his journey, which lasted twelve days, he rested at four sports-Prayag, nasik, Ujjain and Haridwar- which have consequently been consecrated by drops of nectar that fell there.Therefore, these places are considered holy by the Hindus.

Significance of Kumbh Mela 

 

The roots of the Kumbh can be traced to the river festivals when pots of grains were soaked in the waters of the holy rivers and put to seed with the rest of the grain during sowing time.It has also been considered to be a pre-Aryan fertility ritual, for the Kumbh symbolized not  only the Mother Goddess but also the womb, the generative pot.Rivers, as givers life and agents of fertility, became ttirthas (holy places) as they act as bridges between haven and earth, the human and the divine.
Credit for organizing the Kumbh into a congress of hinduism, where rishis, munis, sadhus and yogis gathered to discuss and debate upon the finer points of their faith and disseminate their religion, goes to the seventh-century Shaivite philosopher and religious guru Adi Shankaracharya.he infused new life into the tottering  citadel of Hinduism, which had been badly battered by the breakaway religions of Buddhism and Jainism by organizing the Kumbh Fair.

Special Attractionbh Fair became an important meeting ground for devout Hindus and its importance has not diminished over the years. Even today , millions of piligrams from all over the world, from verious walks of life, sects and communities, walks of life, sects and communities, gather at the appointed venue.For most , it is a once-in-a-lifetime trip.They probably plan and save over many years to make this visit to the king of tirthas, the Purana Kumbh, seeking salvation.For thousands of traders, shopkeepers and pedlars who gather there , the mela means business and profits.many come to enjoy the lively and colourful bustle of crowds buying curious and magical stuff and amulets, generally having great fun.It is both a holy day and holiday for the people.


Rituls of Kumbh Mela( Fair)

 

The main rite performed at the mela is the ritul bath.Orthodox Hindus, who give great importance to the performance of ritualistic action, belive that a dip in the sacred waters on the auspicious day will cleanse them and their ancestors back to the eighty-eighth generation, of  all evil and sin, thus ensuring their salvation or freedom from the cycle of death and rebirth.Ritul bathing is a public act and is performed in the open and ideally on the banks of a river or stream.It includes the complete submergence of the body under water and an oblation to the Sun.The most auspicious day for the ritual bath at Kumbh is on the day of the new moon.

On the day of the new moon, the day begins at about 3 a.m., when the first lot of piligrams line up for a dip in the river.Scantily clad, they chant non-stop 'Jai Ganga Maiya' ( long live Mother Ganga).When they finish, they leave quickly, to make way for the next lot of bathers.Most of them shave their heads before the holy bath, as it is considered a part of the ritual.with the first rays of the sun, the processions of akharas or groups of sadhus of a particular sect begin.The different sects of  sadhus move in the nagas.A messenger who carries a turban aloft a pole precedes every akhara at the Kumbh , announcing their arrival.There is an air of ostentation  about these holymen.The heads of the sects move in golden chariots, with silk umbrellas and leoperd-skin rugs.All the akharas try to outdo each other in terms of grandeur and fanfare.The endless crowd surges towards the Sangam, the magnet that draws them all togather.Everyone is absorbed in the magic of the moment.

After their minds and bodies have been cleansed by the holy dip, the piligrams wear fresh clothes and proceed to perform puja on the riverbank.After having had their meals, the piligrams walk around listening to discourses of various sadhus or have a darshan of the well-known godmen.By next morning , the piligrams are ready to leave.Some stay back a few days,wwwks , even a month, but even a month , but eventually they depart in the belief that all their sins are cleansed and that they have achived spiritual salvation.


The Sadhus of Kumbh Mela(Fair)



The ascetocs and sadhus are an integral part of the festival.One of the aims of all devout Hindus, who mark a pilgrimage to the Kumbh, is to have darshan of these holy men.By touching their feet and listening to them, their followers hope to gain spiritual enlightenment.
The most conspicuous sadhus are the Nagas or naked sadhus.The Nagas smear their bodies with ash and sport long matted hair.Constant exposure to the elements and rigorous self-control makes them imprevious to the extremes of hot and cold.They never need to adjust their clothing to suit the weather.originally a militant armed band , the Nagas were recruited to defend the ascetocs who had taken the vow of nonvolence and therefore could not retaliate when hostile Buddhist, Vaishnavite or other monastic order attacked them.The eyes of the Nagas are usally red with the intake of charas and ganja, which is also considered to be one of the means of attaining siddhi.

Besides the nagas, there are several other types of sadhus- the Urdhwavahurs, who practice server physical austerities and whose bodies are usually emaciated and limbs shrivelled ; the Parivajakas, who live under a vow of silence and go about tinkling little bells to get people out of their way; the Shirshasins who stand all 24 hours and sleep with their heads resting on a vertical pole attached to a vertical pole attached to an oblong pole or meditate for long hours standing on their heads; and the Kalpvasis, who spend the wntire month of Kumbh on the banks of Ganga, meditating, perorming rituals and bathing thrice a day.



Kumbh Mela at Allahabad

 

When Jupiter is in Aries or Taurus and Sun and Moon are in Capricorn during the Hindu month of Magha (January-February).


Kumbh Mela at Haridwar

 

When Jupiter is in Aquarius and Sun is in Aries during the Hindu month of Chaitra (March-April).


Kumbh Mela at Ujjain

 

When Jupiter is in Leo and Sun is in Aries, or when all three are in Libra during the Hindu month of Vaisakha (April-May).



Kumbh Mela at Nasik

 

When Sun and Jupiter are in Leo during the Hindu month of Bhadraprada (August-September).



Kumbh Mela Images









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