Kumbh Mela is the most sacred gathering of Hindus attracting millions of pilgrims from all over the world. It is believed that just one bath in Ganga during Kumbh Mela can cleanse your soul and make you free from all your sins. Kumbh Mela can be defined as the largest gathering of people for a religious purpose in the world.
The Location of Kumbh Mela varies from time to time. The sacred story behind Kumb Mela says when the gods and demons were fighting in the sky for the possession of amrita, the drops of amrita fell on four places where Kumbh Mela is now held. One of which is Haridwar. The Kumbh Mela and the Ardh Kumbh Mela are held every twelfth and sixth year at the banks of Ganga in Haridwar.
According to the astrologers, the Kumb Mela is held in Haridwar when Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries. It is believed that this planetary position purifies the waters of Ganga at a certain spot known as Har ki Pauri located on the banks of River Ganges in Haridwar where the water becomes nectar during these days.
According to a popular legend: once when the observer / Preserver of the world “the God Vishnu” ordered the divinity and the demons to do the mixing of the sea together so they put a hill in the centre of the sea called “Mandrachal Parvat “and used the 7-mouthed snake as the rope. After the gods and demons did the mixing of the sea in which 14 elements emerged.
White elephant (Airawat)
the Tree of life (kalpavraksha)
the diamond (khostubh mani)
the first cow
Laxmi (goddess of money)
the god of the Ayurveda
the poison (Halahala)
When the nectar came out everyone wanted to drink it so the battle between them began, the gods and demons fought for 12 days to get it. To solve this problem Vishnu turned into a beautiful woman. When the demons saw her, they immediately fell in love with her because they didn’t know she was the God Vishnu. He only made the Gods drink the nectar that the demons and thus the Gods became immortal.
When Vishnu was offering the nectar to the gods some drops of the nectar fell to the ground in 4 different places in India and for this reason the Kumbh Mela is celebrated in 4 places. Haridwar, Prayagraj (Prayag), Nasik, and Ujjain where the nectar droplets fell.
Another legend tells that Gods and demons competed for the most precious gift, the Sacred Urn, Kumbh, which contained Amritha, the nectar of immortality. The God Vishnu turned into a crow and managed to steal the urn and with it he fled, chased by demons. During his escape, he stopped 4 times on earth to rest. Each time a few drops of Nectar came out of the pot, wetting the ground. From these drops, the 4 sacred cities were born. The escape lasted 12 days in all, but since a day of the gods corresponds to a year of men, and so the Maha Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 12 years.
Kumbha Mela dates in 2021 at Haridwar.
Actually, Kumbh Mela starts from the Establishment of Dharma Dhwaja in Akhadas. This year due to Covid 19 Situation Govt. of Uttrakhand decide to make shorten this event.
First Shahi Snan will start from Mahashivaratri 11th of March 2021. Somvati Amavasya will be also Shahi Snan on 12th April 2021 then Baisakhi 14th April, Ram Navami 21st April, and Chaitra Purnima on 27th April 2021 will be the last Shahi Snan.
There was covid 19 negative report was mandatory but now anyone come to Kumbhmela without covid 19 negative reports. After 11th March 2021 Shahi Snan it is not mandatory now.
Tourists from every corner of the world flock to Haridwar during the Kumbh Mela season to watch these Naga Baba meditate and perform other rituals. The identification features of this sect of sadhus include being naked, long knotty hair and a body smeared with ashes.
Even when the mercury dips down to a single digit, they continue to meditate and observe different rituals without being hindered in the least. These Naga Sadhus belong to different ‘akharas, meaning camps. A number of akharas participate in the Haridwar Kumbh Mela, each having its own group of Naga Babas.
During the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, the Naga Babas can be seen performing different types of Yogasanas. To watch them busy meditating, travellers need to remain close to the Ganga ghats in Haridwar. You will be surprised to know that these Naga Sadhus can thrive merely on herbs. Interacting with the Naga Babas is seen as a rare opportunity to know things that are so out of the world yet belong to us. These sadhus make a pilgrimage to the Kumbh Mela to perform various types of Yogic asanas, Sashtang Dandthvad being the most prominent one.
You will be deemed fortunate if you catch sight of these Naga Sadhus in some other Yogic postures like hanging from the branch of a tree.
While you visit the Akhada (or camp) of Naga Babas, you will see them indulge in smoking ‘chilum’, a pot of clay to hold bhang, the narcotic marijuana.
Pilgrims also flock to the Akhadas of Naga Babas in large number. When you plan a tour to the Kumbh Mela, do try to find an opportunity to get to one of the Akhadas and interact with the Naga Babas. But, keep your cameras poised!
List of Akhadas.
There are 14 Akhadas. Shaiva Akhadas:-1 Shri Shambhu Panchayati Atal Akhada,2 Shri Pancha Dashnam Aavahan Akhada,3 Taponidhi Shri Panchayati Anand Akhada, 4 Shri Pancha Dashnam Agni Akhada,5 Shri Pancha Dashnam Juna ( Bhairava)6 Shri Panchayati Maha Nirvani, 7 Shri Panchayati Niranjani Akhada.
Bairagi (Vaishnava) Akhadas:- 8 Shri Nirmohi Ani Akhara, 9 Shri Digambar Ani Akhara, 10 Shri Nirvani Ani Akhara.
There are three more Akhadas:- 11 Shri Panchayati Bada Udaseen Akhada, 12 Shri Panchayati Naya Udaseen Akhada, 13 Shri Nirmal Panchayati Akhada. 14th Akhada is Kinnar Akhada what was recently added.