The history of Kumbh Mela is at least 850 years old. It is believed that Adi Shankaracharya started it, but according to some legends, Kumbha started from the beginning of the sea churning. It has been told in the scriptures that the year of the earth is the day of the gods, so every twelve years, Kumbh is organized again at one place. The twelve years of the gods come after 144 years of the earth. It is believed that after 144 years, Kumbh is organized in heaven, so that year Mahakumbh is held on earth. Prayagraj has been designated as the real place for Mahakumbh.
History of Kumbh Mela
The Kalash is called Kumbh which means pitcher. This festival is related to the nectar(amrit) in urn which came out during the sea churning. Once Indra and the gods fell weak due to the curse of Maharishi Durvasa, the demon who attacked and defeated the gods. All the gods together approached Lord Vishnu and told him everything. Then Lord Vishnu advised the gods to go against the demons and churn the Kshira Sagar and extract the nectar(Amrit). At the behest of Lord Vishnu, the entire deity engaged in an attempt to extract the nectar by making a treaty with the demons. At the behest of the deities, Indra's son 'Jayant' flew into the sky carrying the Amrit Kalash. The demons chased Jayant to fetch the nectar and after a while, they caught Jayant in the midway and there was a fierce battle between Dev and Demon for 12 days to take possession of the Amrit Kalash.
Some of its drops 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 Kshipra. The nectar that came out in the churning fell at these places- Haridwar, Prayagraj, Ujjain, and Nashik. Hence the Kumbh Mela has been held at these four places only after every three years. After 12 years, this fair returns to its first place. This is the reason that the Kumbh Mela is celebrated at these four places. Kumbh is divided into 4 parts. For example, if the first Kumbh is in Haridwar, then after 3 years, the second Kumbh is in Prayagraj and then the third Kumbh is in Ujjain after 3 years, and then after 3 years, the fourth Kumbh is in Nashik.
When Does Khubh Mela Occur?
Jupiter and the Sun planets play an important role in deciding the date and place of the Kumbh Mela. The location and date of the fair are determined only by entering the zodiac signs of Jupiter and the Sun.
- In the year in which Brihaspati enters Kumbh Rashi(Aquarius) and the Surya Grah enters Mesh Rashi, then in that year, Kumbh Mela is held in the city of Dev Haridwar. It falls in the Magh month of the Hindi calendar.
- The year Kumbh Mela takes place in Prayagraj is the year when Surya Grah enters Makar Rashi (Capricorn) and Brihaspati enters Mesh Rashi or Vrishab Rashi. It takes place in Chaitra, the first month of the Hindu calendar.
- In the year in which the Surya Grah and Jupiter(Brihaspati Grah) enter the same Singh Rashi, the Kumbh Mela is held in Nashik, Maharashtra in that year. Nashik Kumbha takes place in Bhadrapada month.
- In the year when Brihaspati enters Singh Rashi) and Sun God enters Mesh Rashi, then this Kumbh Mela takes place in Ujjain. It is also called Simhastha Kumbh because it is related to the Singh Rashi sign. Simhastha Kumbh takes place in the month of Vaishakh.
Festival of Kumbh
- Kumbh in Haridwar: Ardh Kumbh is also organized in Haridwar and Prayag at a gap of six years between the two Kumbh festivals. Haridwar is located under the Shivalik mountain of the Himalayan mountain range. In ancient texts, Haridwar is also known by the names of Tapovan, Mayapuri, Gangadwar and Mokshdwar. The religious significance of Haridwar is huge. It is a major pilgrimage centre for Hindus.
- Kumbh in Prayag: Prayag Kumbha has special significance because it is held after 12 years at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. Prayagraj's Kumbh Mela has the highest importance among all the fairs.
- Kumbh in Nashik: Once in 12 years Simhastha Kumbh Mela is held in Nashik and Trimbakeshwar. Joti ling, one of the 12 in India, is located in the holy city called Trimbakeshwar. This place is located at a distance of 38 km from Nashik and the Godavari river originated from here as well.
- Kumbh in Ujjain: This festival takes place in Ujjain on the day of Kartik Amavasya. Apart from Ujjain, the remaining are Ayodhya, Mathura, Haridwar, Kashi, Kanchipuram and Dwarka. It is said that Lord Shiva killed the Tripura demon in Ujjain.
According to religious belief, all the sins of people who worship devoutly in Kumbh are cut off and they get salvation. Kumbh bathing is considered to be special because it is believed that on this day the gates of heaven worlds are opened on this day and thus bathing on this day gives the soul easy access to the higher realms.
Rules to Follow in Kumbh Mela
If you are going to have a Kumbh bath, keep in mind that the bath has a special rule. If you are going to have a bath in Kumbh or a bath in a holy river even on normal days, then some things should be taken care of.
- Pray to the river before taking a bath, then put on a foot and then a flower. And take a bath after putting on your willful posture.
- After the bath, donate clothes, etc. to the priest.
- You should always avoid defecation, watching your mouth, combing your hair near the river, playing in the water, rushing, or washing clothes at all times.
- Avoid consuming meat, alcohol etc. while you participate in Kumbh Mela. Do not create a mess.
- Do not insult or ridicule a saint.