#Festivals of India

Kumbh Amidst Corona: 10 Must Know Things About The Largest Hindu Festival

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Referred to as one of the world’s largest human gathering, the Hindu festival, Kumbh is set to commence from January 14. The Maha Kumbh occurs in a cycle between periods of 12 years. This year, however, it is being celebrated a year earlier due to the astronomical orientations believed to decide the occurrence of this festival.

Here are 10 things to know about this significant festival

1.The famous myth behind Kumbh Mela is from the Puranas. When gods and demons fought over the sacred kumbh(pitcher) of amrit(nectar of immortality), Lord Vishnu disguised as the beautiful Mohini rescued the pitcher out of the hands of the demons. During this, a few drops of the precious elixir fell on 4 sacred sites on earth. The sites now are known as Haridwar, Ujjain, Nashik, and Prayag.

2. During the Kumbh Mela, thousands of pilgrims gather on the banks of the Ganges river in Haridwar, the Godavari in Nashik, Shipra in Ujjain, and at the meeting of Ganges, Yamuna, and Sarasvati(Prayag).

3. The celebrations at each of these 4 places are based on the set of astrological positions of the Sun, the Moon, and Jupiter. It is believed that when these celestial bodies occupy their righteous positions in the galaxy, it is the holiest time.

4. A very important ritual of the Kumbh is to take a holy dip in the rivers. This act is believed to wash away our sins and guarantee purity. Other than the ritual dip, people celebrate the festival by organising fairs, entertainment programs, mass feeding monks and poor, and other spiritual rituals.

5. Devotees from all walks of life from different sections of Hindu religious life gather in large numbers to celebrate this festival. These also include holy men (sadhus) and hermits who have taken severe penances leading up to the Kumbh.

Also Read: Hindu Vrat Calendar 2021: Mark The Dates Of Hindu Festivals And Vrats

6. Though the myths of Puranas exist, traditions credit Kumbh Mela’s origin to the 8th century philosopher Shankara as to establishing this gathering. He used to conduct large regular gatherings of learned philosophers and ascetics for discussion and debate.

7. The Ardh (half) Kumbh Mela is held every 6 years during the period between the Maha Kumbh Mela. In 2019, during the Kumbh, a total of around 24 crore people visited the Sangam city at Prayag. While in the 2010 Kumbh Mela about sixty million devotees attended the holy celebrations in Haridwar.

Kumbh 2021

8. This year, the Mela will be conducted with utmost safety and precautions due to the pandemic. Hence, the pilgrims have to register themselves on a website and select a specific ghat to take the holy dip in Ganga. An e-pass will also be provided with the route map of the selected ghat.

9. A specific time will be allotted upon registration to the devotees. Only during this provided time slot can they visit the ghat selected. A set time limit is to be followed while taking the bath in the rivers too.

10. The preparations for the Mela had begun way ahead in 2019 itself. But the lockdown in 2020 had halted the progress. The Mela area and all 107 ghats have been marked as red, green, and yellow on the basis of vulnerability. If the crowd exceeds the capacity accessed at each ghat, a control room will receive an alert. Then a security force is to be relayed to ensure safety protocols.

Also Read: Sewers Could Be Making Water Quality Of The Ganges Worse

Picture credit: indianeagle.com

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