Arrival of January coinciding with Hindi month of Magh signals commencement of Kumbh Mela at Allahabad (now known as Prayagraj) , the city of Sangam (i.e. confluence of three rivers). Rigveda the ancient scripture of Hindus in India explains the importance of Kumbh Mela in mystic terms.It is believed that whoever takes a dip at Sangam the confluence of three holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati at Prayagraj during the auspicious period secures a place in heaven in after life and one who sacrifices his body at Sangam during this period would attain salvation and would be free from cycle of life and death.
Kumbh Mela is held every six years at Allahabad (now named as Prayagraj). Every twelve years the Mela or fair is designated as Mahakubh (Mega Kumbh) as the configuration of planets is much more auspicious during this period.This year (2019) the Kumbh is “ardhkumbh” i.e. six yearly Kumbh but the Govt. of Uttar Pradesh and it’s Tourism Department has made all out efforts to make it a Mega Event.The turnover of devotees is estimated to exceed 15 millions during the 60 day time span when major bathing events would be held.
The six auspicious days for taking holy dip are designated as Makar Sankranti (14th January), Paush Poornima (21st January), Mauni Amavasya (4th February), Basant Panchami (10th February), Maghi Poornima (19th February) and Mahashivratri (4th March).On every date the turnout of devotees may be exceeding several lakhs.
For the persons wishing to stay at Mela Ground a whole new city has come up comprising of millions of tents.The Mela grounds teeming with Sadhus of all nature also have provisions for Luxury Tented accommodation as can be seen from numerous advertisements on the web and official websites.
Apart from Sadhus and Sanyasis of various congregations the Mela becomes alive when Akhadas or groups of holy men start arriving on their horses and camels organised as procession covered in peculiar makeup .When an organised group proceeds for bath it is known as Shahi Snan or holy bath. All processions are showcased live on U Tube providing amazing amalgamation of ancient traditions with modern technology. For those choosing to stay in the tent city there are regular cultural events/ exhibitions. Akhadas are a unique feature of Mela (which I may take up in next blogpost).
So what are you waiting for ? Pack your backpack and get ready for a bit of adventure and religion. UP Tourism websites would give complete insight into every thing.May be I shall meet you there for Allahabad is my birth place And Allahabad University is my alma mater.