Kumbh Mela or Kumbha Mela inscribed on the UNESCO's Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred or holy river. Traditionally, four fairs are widely recognized as the Kumbh Melas: the Haridwar Kumbh Mela, the Allahabad Kumbh Mela, the Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha, and Ujjain Simhastha. These four fairs are held periodically, every six years at one of the following places by rotation: Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayag), Nashik and Ujjain. The main festival site is located on the banks of a river.
Ganga at Haridwar, the confluence (Sangam) of the Ganges and the Yamuna and the
invisible Sarasvati at Allahabad; the Godavari at Nashik; and the Shipra at Ujjain.
Bathing in these rivers is thought to cleanse a person of all their sins.
In 2019, beginning from January 14th to March 5th, Kumbh Mela will be held at Allahabad, which is at a distance of 135 km from Varanasi.
The exact age of the festival is uncertain. According to medieval Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu dropped drops of Amrita (the drink of immortality) at four places, while transporting it in a kumbha (pot). These four places are identified as the present-day sites of the Kumbh Mela.
The festival is considered as the "world's largest congregation of religious pilgrims". There is no precise method of ascertaining the number of pilgrims, and the estimates of the number of pilgrims bathing on the most auspicious day may vary. An estimated 120 million people visited Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013 in Allahabad over a two-month period, including over 30 million on a single day, on 10 February 2013 (the day of Mauni Amavasya).
One of the major events of Kumbh Mela is the Peshwai Procession, which marks the arrival of the members of an akhara or sect of sadhus at the Kumbh Mela. The major event of the festival is ritual bathing in the river. 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 standardised. Kumbh Mela is the most sacred of all the pilgrimages.Thousands of holy men and women attend, and the auspiciousness of the festival is in part attributable to this. The sadhus are seen clad in saffron sheets with Vibhuti ashes dabbed on their skin as per the requirements of ancient traditions. Some, called naga sanyasis, may not wear any clothes even in severe winter. The right to be naga, or naked, is considered a sign of separation from the material 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, marvellous to our kind of people, the whites. Important Dates ”
|15th Jan||Tuesday||Makar Sankranti, 1st Shahi Snan|
|21st Jan||Monday||Paush Purnima|
|4th Feb||Monday||Mauni Amavasya 2nd Shahi Snan The main Royal bath|
|10th Feb||Sunday||Basant Panchami 3rd Shahi Snan|
|19th Feb||Tuesday||Maghi Poornima|
|4th March||Monday||Maha Shivratri|
Allahabad being a smaller city compare to Varanasi in terms of tourism infrastructure, having limited number of hotel rooms, prices of the hotels become very expensive during Kumbh Mela. Lot of tourist visiting Kumbh Mela, come and stay in Varanasi. For the convenience of the visiting tourist, we, Varanasi Walking Tour will be organising day tours to show Kumbh Mela at its best.
Guest can do Day tours of Kumbh Mela through our activity website www.varanasiwalkingtour.com
Day Tour Charges and Inclusions
Rs. 3000 per person (minimum 3 guests required to operate a day tour) Visit by personal car, tour guide, breakfast on the way, lunch at the Mela. Pickup time 7:00 AM tour ends in the evening.