Ardh Kumbh Mela

Allahabad Travel Blog

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The Ardh Kumbh mela, considered as the largest religious congregation in the world after Kumbh, began in Sangam Allahabad on Wednesday 1st Jan 2007, with the first auspicious bathing taking place in the early hours. A large number of pilgrims and "Kalpavasis" who observe a month of penance at the melaground, started taking the holy dip at 04:48 hours at the bathing ghats and also Sangam, the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati.

The first royal bathing - Shahi Snan - will take place on Makar Sankranti day, when Naga ascetics of Mahanirvana Akahara will lead the bathing procession followed by those of Niranjani and other Akaharas.

Kumbh's history originates from the beginning of the Creation. All devtas were under the influence of a curse that made them weak and coward, Brahma, (the creator God) advised them to churn the ocean for Amrit (Nectar), intake of which will make them immortal, devtas sough the help of demons for the purpose. gods and demons made a temporary agreement to work together in obtaining amrita (the nectar of immortality) from the Milky Ocean, and to share this equally.The Mandara Mountain was used as a churning rod, and Vasuki, the king of serpents, became the rope for churning. With the demigods at Vasuki's tail and the demons at his head, they churned the ocean for a 1,000 years. However,Dhanwantari, the divine healer, appeared with the "Kumbh" containing nectar in his palms, when the Kumbha (pot) containing the amrita appeared, the demons ran away with the pot and were chased by the gods.

By their joint churning Amrit was one of the resultants, found in the last. A battle ensured.For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the gods and demons fought in the sky for the possession of this pot of amrita. It is said that during the battle, drops of amrita fell on to four places : Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. Kumbha mela is observed at these four locations where the nectar fell.

Maha Kumbh helds after every twelve years, which is once in life time event, if some how your have missed maha kumbh than other option of similar significance is Ardh Kumbh which helf after every 6 years. Allahabad will host next Kumbh in Jan 2007 during the months of Jan - Feb.

The combined sanctity of the three holy rivers, coupled with the spiritual powers obtained from the pot of nectar of immortality has earned Prayag as tirtharaja ( the king of holy places).

The confluence of India's three most sacred rivers at Allahabad , Besides the Ganges, there are also two other sacred rivers located at Allahabad, the Yamuna and the Saraswati . Ganges & yamuna has its earthly origin in the Himalayas. Whereas Saraswati, is a mystical river which has no physical form. Its is believed that the Saraswati exists only on the spiritual plane and is not visible to the human eye.

# Prayag (near the city of Allahabad, in the state of Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of three rivers Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and Saraswati
# Haridwar (in the state of uttaranchal pradesh) where the river Ganga
enters the plains from Himalayas
# Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), on the banks of Ksipra river, and
# Nasik (in Maharashtra) on the banks of Godavari river.

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photo by: royalrider