Which the largest holy gathering in the world and where exactly is it? Kumbh Mela in our very own country. It attracts more attention and people than any other gathering in the world. But do we know all that we need to know about it? Here are some amazing facts about Kumbh Mela that you should know about:
1. Held every three years, the Kumbh Mela keeps switching between four different locations.
These are Haridwar (Ganga), Prayagraj (Triveni Sangam of Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati), Nasik (river Godavari) and Ujjain (Kshipra river). Because of the alternation between the places, it returns to one location only after 12 years! This year it is taking place at Prayagraj.
2. The starting point of the Kumbh Mela religious celebration originates from a legend portraying a war among divine beings and evil presences over ownership of the solution of endless life or the elixir or the "nectar of everlasting status."
3. The four places where the Kumbh Mela takes place are also believed to be the four places where the drops of the elixir fell during the battle and the rivers are believed to possess powers at these locations.
When the evil spirits got to know about god's plan of not sharing the nectar, they hunted them down for 12 days and during this hunt it is believed that some of the nectar fell at the 4 different locations.
4. The meaning of 'Kumbh' is nectar. To reestablish harmony, Lord Brahma suggested every one of the divine beings to produce the nectar of immortality with the assistance of the evil spirits.
5. The devas were the divine beings and the asuras were the evil spirits. So, when the asuras got to know that the devas were planning on not sharing the elixir with them, they chased the devas for a period of 12 days.
6. The dates of the Kumbh Mela are actually decided according to the positions of Jupiter, the moon and the sun. The sacred water of the rivers is said to turn into nectar at this time.
7. Hindus believe that if they take a dip in the water of the sacred rivers that turn into nectar during this time, all their sins get washed away and they come closer to salvation.
8. The first-ever account of the Kumbh Mela was documented by Xuanzang, a Chinese man who came to travel to India in 629-645 CE (a Chinese traveler who visited India during the reign of King Harshavardhana) implying that the festival is more than two thousand years old.
9. It was recorded that 65,000 jobs were created directly or indirectly because of Kumbh Mela.
10. In 2013, an approximate of 120 million people visited Prayagraj over a period of 2 months to witness the Kumbh Mela.
11. A Maha Kumbh Mela is held only at Prayag, once every 144 years.
12. According to reports by BBC, 14 temporary hospitals with 243 doctors along with more than 50, 000 police officials and 40,000 toilets were set up to care for the pilgrims.
The largest holy gathering in the world, it should definitely be experienced! The dates for this year's Kumbh Mela are 15 Jan 2019 - 04 March 2019.