Tuesday, January 9, 2007
Kumbh Mela (the Urn Festival) is a Hindu pilgrimage that occurs four times every twelve years and rotates among four locations: Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. Each twelve-year cycle includes one Maha Kumbh Mela (Great Kumbh Mela) at Prayag, which is attended by millions of people, making it the largest gathering anywhere in the world.
After visiting the Kumbh mela of 1895, Mark Twain wrote:
"It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination marvelous to our kind of people, the cold whites."
Astronomy and Kumbh Mela
The precise dates of the Kumbh Mela are astronomically determined, based upon precise calculations of the positions of the Sun, the Moon and Jupiter. At Prayag, the Maha Kumbh Mela is held in the month of Magha (January/February in the Gregorian calendar). The highest spiritual merit is attached to bathing on the new moon day, Amavasya, when Jupiter is in Taurus and both the Sun and Moon are in Capricorn. At Haridwar, the Kumbh Mela is held in the months of Phalgun and Chaitra (February/March/April), when the Sun passes to Aries, the Moon is in Sagittarius and Jupiter is in Aquarius. In Ujjain, the festival is held in the month of Vaishakha (May), when other planets are in Libra, the Sun and Moon are in Aries and Jupiter is in Leo. At Nashik, the Kumbh Mela takes place in the month of Shravana (July), when the Sun and Moon are in Cancer and Jupiter is in Scorpio.
It is also said that the elixir of life is filled in a Kumbh (Pot) in Swarg (heaven) so with certain combination of Sun - Moon - Jupiter combination, the elixir falls from heaven to earth, and kumbh mela is held on those locations.
The observance of Kumbh Mela is based upon the following legend: Thousands of years ago, in the Vedic period, gods and demons made a temporary agreement to work together churning amrita (the nectar of immortality) from the Ksheera Sagara (primordial ocean of milk), and to share the nectar equally. However, when the Kumbh (urn) containing the amrita appeared, the demons ran away with it and were chased by the gods. For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the gods and demons fought in the sky for possession of this pot of amrita. It is said that during the battle, drops of amrita fell at four places: Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. Thus, the Kumbh Mela is observed at these four locations where the nectar fell.
Kumbh Mela is attended by millions of people on a single day. The major event of this festival is a ritual bath at the banks of the rivers in each town. Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men and women and the poor, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardized. Kumbh Mela (especially the Maha Kumbh Mela) is the most sacred of all the Hindu pilgrimages. Thousands of holy men and women (monks, saints and sadhus) attend, and the auspiciousness of the festival is in part attributable to this.
Kumbh Mela 2003
When the Kumbh Mela was held in Nashik, India, from July 27 to September 7, 2003, 39 pilgrims (28 women and 11 men) were trampled to death and 57 were injured (keeping in mind that the number of devotees attending the fair was around 70 million). Devotees had gathered on the banks of the Godavari river for the maha snaan or holy bath. Over 30,000 pilgrims were being held back by barricades in a narrow street leading to the Ramkund, a holy spot, so the sadhus could take the first ceremonial bath. Reportedly, a sadhu threw some silver coins into the crowd and the subsequent scramble led to the stampede .
KUMBH MELA, 2007
Dates of Ardh Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India, 2007
January 03 to Feb 26, 2007.
Kumbha (Kumbha means pot) Mela (means fair) is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage that takes place at the following four locations of India:
Prayag, Allahabad (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of three holy rivers - Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and Saraswati
Haridwar (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) where the river Ganga enters the plains from Himalayas
Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), on the banks of shipra river, and
Nasik (in Maharashtra) on the banks of Godavari river.
"the experience of a life-time"
Kumbh Mela 2007 will last for about a month, beginning on Jan 03 and ending on Feb 02, 2007. Although all the days are observed as special for taking the ritual bath, however the following are said to be the most auspicious days in the month.
Day & Date Parva (Special Days for Ritual Baths)
Thursday Jan 03, 2007 Snanarambha (Beginning of the Kumbh festival) Paush Purnima
Sunday Jan 14, 2007 Makar Sankranti
Friday Jan 19, 2007 Mauni Amavasya (No moon day)
Tuesday Jan 23, 2007 Basanta Panchami
Friday Feb 02, 2007 Purnamasi (Full moon day)
"the city of sangam"
About the city
Location: Uttar Pradesh, India
Altitude: 98 Meter Above the Sea Level
Temperature: 30° C - 45° C (Summers), 5° C - 15° C (Winter)
Languages Spoken: Hindi, Urdu and English
Festivals/Events: Magh Mela, Ardha Kumbh Mela, Kumbh Mela, Holi, Shivaratri, Dussehra, Diwali, Id, Christmas etc
Local Transport: Buses, Tempos(Shared Auto Rickshaw) and Cycle Rickshaws
Population: Around 5 Million
Tourist Attractions: Sangam, Allahabad Fort (Akshayavat), Reclining Hanuman Temple, Anand Bhavan, All Saints Cathedrals Church etc
Cities Nearby: Varanasi, Kanpur, Lucknow, Ayodhya, New Delhi, Patna etc.
How to reach Allahabad
The Ardha Kumbha in the year 2007 will be held at Allahabad. We are providing brief information about how to reach Allahabad for the Ardha Kumbha Mela 2007. Allahabad (Prayag) is one of the most revered holy places in India. It is the place of the confluence of the three rivers- Ganga, Yamuna and the mythological Saraswati. Allahabad, being an important religious, educational and administrative center, is well connected to major cities of India by Air, Rail and Road.
How to Reach Allahabad by Air
Allahabad has a domestic airport and there are daily flights from New Delhi. Also there are flights from other metros either via Delhi or Via Kolkata. Other nearest airport is Varanasi which 120 KM away from Allahabad and is also well connected from all the main cities of India.
How to Reach Allahabad by Rail /Train
Being situated on the main line of the Indian railways, there are direct trains for Allahabad from most of the major Indian cities.
How to Reach Allahabad by Road
As Allahabad is located in the heartland of the great Indian plains, the road density is quite high in these parts. National Highways 2 and 27 pass through Allahabad. Here is a distance chart giving distance between Allahabad and other cities of India.
CITY DISTANCE CITY DISTANCE CITY DISTANCE
Agartala 1903 Gurgaon 621 Panaji 1742
Agra 425 Guwahati 1304 Paradwip 1058
Ahmedabad 1119 Gwalior 444 Pathankot 1079
Aizawl 1770 Haldia 884 Patna 360
Ajmer 788 Hassan 1902 Pondicherry 1950
Akola 855 Hissar 792 Porbandar 1513
Aligarh 472 Hubli 1555 Pune 1323
Ambala 795 Hyderabad 1092 Purulia 591
Amritsar 1050 Imphal 1788 Raipur 640
Asansol 579 Indore 737 Rajkot 1335
Aurangabad 1109 Jabalpur 343 Rameswaram 2255
Bakhtiyarpur 408 Jaipur 657 Ranchi 536
Bangalore 1654 Jaisalmer 1227 Ranippettai 1873
Barauni 471 Jalandhar 967 Raurkela 756
Barddhaman 682 Jammu 1186 Rohtak 699
Bareilly 481 Jamnagar 1421 Sagar 471
Belgaum 1659 Jamshedpur 666 Saharanpur 722
Bellary 1459 Jhansi 398 Salem 1857
Bhagalpur 595 Jodhpur 988 Sambalpur 795
Bhavnagar 1306 Jorhat 1607 Shahjahanpur 406
Bhopal 551 Kakinada 1615 Siliguri 829
Bhubaneshwar 1090 Kandla 1607 Shillong 1404
Bikaner 978 Kanniyakumari 2335 Shimla 946
Bilaspur 529 Kanpur 195 Shivpuri 502
Calcutta 805 Kochi 2187 Silchar 1630
Chandigarh 841 Kohima 1643 Solapur 1269
Chennai 1688 Kolhapur 1516 Srinagar 1479
Chittardurga 1587 Kota 722 Surat 1202
Coimbatore 1994 Kozhikode 2009 Thane 1425
Cuttack 1065 Krishnagiri 1745 Thanjavur 2045
Dehra Dun 770 Kurnool 1302 Thiruvananthapuram 2407
Delhi 628 Lucknow 238 Thrissur 2101
Dhanbad 533 Ludhiana 908 Tiruchchirappalli 1991
Dhule 1132 Madurai 2100 Tirunelveli 2254
Dibrugarh 1743 Mangalore 1916 Tirupati 1684
Dimapur 1578 Meerut 600 Tuticorin 2235
Dindigul 2034 Moradabad 577 Udaipur 1007
Durgapur 619 Motihari 500 Ujjain 739
Ganganagar 1036 Mumbai 1466 Ulhasnagar 1452
Gangtok 943 Muzaffarnagar 651 Vadodara 1060
Gaya 375 Muzaffarpur 584 Varanasi 125
Ghaziabad 584 Mysore 1796 Vijayawada 1423
Ghazipur 197 Nagpur 605 Vishakhapatnam 1230
Gorakhpur 298 Nanded 983 Warangal 1055
Gulbarga 1245 Nashik 1283
Guntur 1384 Nellore 1608
Kumbha (Kumbha means pot) Mela is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage that takes place at the following four locations of India
• 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 Uttar 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.
The pilgrimage occurs four times every twelve years, once at each of the four locations. Each twelve-year cycle includes the Maha (great) Kumbha Mela at Prayag, attended by millions of people, making it the largest pilgrimage gathering around the world.
The observance of Kumbha Mela is based upon the following story : thousands of years ago, perhaps in the Vedic period, 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. However, when the Kumbha (pot) containing the amrita appeared, the demons ran away with the pot and were chased by the gods. 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. Thus, Kumbha mela is observed at these four locations where the nectar fell.
Kumbha Mela is attended by millions of people on a single day. A ritual bath at a predetermined time and place is the major event of this festival. Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men/women and the poor, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardized. Kumbha Mela (especially the Maha Kumbha Mela) is the most sacred of all the Hindu pilgrimages. Thousands of holy men/women (monks, saints, sadhus) grace the occasion by their presence. The suspiciousness of Kumbha Mela is in part attributed to the gathering of thousands of holy men/women at one place on earth
According to astrologers, the 'Kumbh Fair' takes place when the planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries.
[Adopted from Bansi Pandit : The Hindu Mind]
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