The world’s largest religious gathering, the Kumbh Mela, is set to take place in a few days. Kumbh Mela is celebrated in a cycle of approximately 12 years at four river-bank pilgrimage sites: the Allahabad (recently renamed Prayagraj), Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain.
As per Hindu scriptures and astrology, these four places are chosen according to the position of the Jupiter and the Sun. When the Jupiter and the Sun are in Leo, Kumbh Mela is held at Trimbakeshwar in Nashik. If the Sun is in Aries, it is held at Haridwar. If the Jupiter is in Taurus and the Sun is in Aquarius then the Mela is celebrated in Prayagraj and if the Sun is in Scorpio then it is organized in Ujjain.
To know the story of this Kumbh Mela, we have to go through the Hindu Puranas. According to Hindu Puranas, when the gods were fleeing with the pot of nectar by churning the cosmic ocean, a few drops of nectar fell from the pot. The places where that nectar fell that day are the places of today’s Kumbh Mela.
I’ve already mentioned above that the site of Kumbh Mela changes every 12 years. These are Prayagraj on the bank of the Ganga in Uttar Pradesh, Haridwar on the bank of the Ganga in Uttarakhand, Nasik on the bank of the Godavari in Maharashtra, and Ujjain on the bank of the river Shipra. And according to that tradition, another Maha Kumbh is going to be organized in 2021 at Haridwar on the bank of Ganga.
“कुम्भ राशिगते जीवे यद्द्विनेशन मशगे रवौ।
हरिद्वारे कृतसंसाननं पुनरावृत्तिवर्जनम्। “
Holy bathing and puja are the main rituals of the Kumbh Mela. According to Hindu sriptures, bathing in the Ganga sets human beings free from the cycle of birth and death. In other words, the person who takes a ritual bath under such a cosmic arrangement attains Moksha (salvation).
Talker: Krishna Das