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Kumbha Mela

Kumbha Mela in Allahabad

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Kumbha Mela

The world's largest human gathering

The spectacular purna Kumbha Mela festival, celebrated once every 12 years, is the worlds' largest human gathering. India comes to life in a swirling concoction of color, song and spirituality at the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna. Millions of pilgrims gather to celebrate. Tens of thousands of monks make their way out of seclusion to bathe in the holy Ganges river on the auspicious day of the new moon. It's a festival of epic proportions and an experience of a lifetime.

Kumbha is a Sanskrit word for a roundish pot with no handles and mela means a gathering or fair.

I was fortunate enough in 2010, after having wanted to attend a Kumbha Mela for a long time, to be present at the Mela in Haridwar. It was one of the smaller ones that takes place every 3 years and over the course of the 3 month festival an estimated 40 million people had attended. I was there for the main bathing there where over 5 million pilgrims and ascetics had gathered on the most auspicious day of the festival. It was an experience that is beyond description and one that has etched itself in my mind forever. It was then that I decided I'd have to do a spiritual adventure to the Kumbha Mela at the next one.

The purna Kumbha Mela taking place in Allahabad in 2013 is an opportunity not to be missed.

The Cycles of the Mela
The Kumbha Mela takes place every 3 years rotating between the towns of Allahabad, Ujjain, Nasik and Haridwar. The Ardha (half) Kumbha Mela takes place every 6 years while the Purna (full) kumbha mela takes place every 12 years. 2013 is the twelfth year and a cycle of the Purna Kumbha Mela which will be taking place in Allahabad. The Maha (great) Kumbha Mela is celebrated every 144 years at the completion of 12 cycles of the Purna Kumbha Mela and the last one took place in Allahabad in 2001 with an estimate of 60 million people attending over the 3 month period.

Auspicious bathing dates for the 2013 Kumbha Mela

  • 14th & 15th Jan – Makar Sankranti
  • 27th Jan – Paush Purnima
  • 06th Feb – Ekadashi Snan
  • 10th Feb – Mauni Amavasya Snan (MAIN BATHING DATE)
  • 15th Feb – Basant Panchami Snan
  • 17th Feb – Rath Saptami Snan
  • 18th Feb – Bhisma Ekadashi Snan
  • 25th Feb – Maghi Purnima Snan
  • 13th Mar – Mahashivratri Snan

sadhu smoking