India is a land of rich culture and avid worshippers who can travel any distances for the attainment of peace and spirituality. Similar is the situation at Prayagraj where millions of people have gathered on the banks of the sacred rivers from all over the world to be a part of this grand festivity. The fragrance of the incense, hailing of Sadhus and chanting of mantras by Babas, and congregation of lakhs of people is how a common sight at Kumbh Mela. Lauded for holding great significance in the hearts of people, Kumbha Mela is all about piety and enthusiasm spreaded over two months leaving behind the barriers of religion. This grand festival takes place in four major locations- Haridwar, Prayagraj, Ujjain, and Nashik depending on the celestial movements of the planets.
This year, Ardh Kumbh Mela is held at Prayagrag, a crucial city of Uttar Pradesh located on the banks of Yamuna, Ganga, and Saraswati conflux. Devotees in large gatherings have accumulated there to dunk in the holy water of the confluence of three rivers, holding religious importance, to wash away their sins and attain Moksha. This is not all. There are other noteworthy spectacles at this great grand Kumbh festival like Naga Sadhus covered completely with ashes to Shahi Snan to rhapsodic evening prayers at the Ghats and temples.
Having faith is the most important key in solving the enigmas of life. Nobody has ever seen God; but it is the belief and faith that brings human beings closer to God and make them believe in Him. We all pay visits to temples and even have the most beautiful mandirs in our homes. Some of us even diligently keep fasts for Tuesdays or Thursdays owing to our faith in God. After all, it is our belief in Him that gives us strength to walk on the path of righteousness and spirituality.
There are multiple mythological legends attached to many places in India like Benares, Shirdi, and even Vaishno Devi. Similarly, the legend of Samudra Manthan is associated with Prayagraj, earlier known as Allahabad. Kumbh Mela in this famous city of Uttar Pradesh is held on the belief of the legend of Amrit spilled over this place along with the three places in India. The throngs of people gathered here is evident of their faith in this mythological story who wishes to attain peace and wash away their sins in the holy water. This faith gives them the strength to mark their presence at this grand festival from worldwide.
There was a battle that broke between the gods and the demons at the time of Samudra Manthan (churning of the ocean) for the pot of ambrosia. The purpose of this churning was to obtain ambrosia from the ocean which was a potion of immortality and salvation. After the completion of this extraction, this pure liquid was transferred to a Kumbh meaning pot. To protect this Amrit from the demons, Garuda, the vehicle of Lord Vishnu, flew away with the pot. During his take off, he spilled some drops of this magic potion on the earth at four places which we now known as Nashik, Prayagraj, Ujjain, and Haridwar. This made these cities and the rivers flowing in them holy. The Kumbh Mela is the celebration of this amazing incident and celebrated with a lot of fervor.
1. Shahi Snan: The Royal Bath or Shahi Snan is the holy dip taken by the Sadhus and Babas of different religious groups in the sacred river before the Hindu pilgrims.
2. Triveni Sangam: Triveni Sangam is a popular place during Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj where the three holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati meet.
3. Akharas and the Sadhus: The Saints are the most important part of Kumbh Mela and elevates the holiness of the entire festival with their presence. Akhara is the place where the sadhus carry out their religious practices.
4. Satsangs: Satsangs form an integral part of the Ardh Kumbh Mela. Devotees attend these religious preachings of the Sadhus in large numbers and attain good religious and spiritual knowledge from them.
5. Night Life at Kumbh Mela: The city of Prayagraj turns insomniac during the Ardh Kumbh Mela. The splendid night view of the beautiful city from the Triveni Ghat is appealing to the eyes. The soothing river, the cold breeze, and glinting Ghats, everything turns just magical for the spectators.