Ardh Kumbh Mela
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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.
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).
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.