Saturday, April 27, 2013
Maha Kumbh...Photographing a Dream Of Devotion Piety Humanity, a photo by firoze shakir photographerno1 on Flickr.
"A Spiritual Consciousness"
Maha Kumbh Mela is celebrated at Prayag; When On the day of Amavasya, Brihaspati (Jupiter) enters into Vrisabha (Taurus) and Surya (Sun) and Chandra (Moon) are positioned with Makara (Capricorn). Thus these all planetary configuration repeat every 12years and thus Maha Kumbh Mela also comes after the same interval. +Read More
Kumbh is Pot symbolizing various elements in Hindu religion i.e Knowledge, assembly of God, Treasure known and unknown. Mahakumbh means a large pot where knowledge is processed and given to masses for the benefit of huminity. The tradition of Maha Kumbh teaches the way of “The best utilization of our knowledge”.
According to holy books, Due to Loss to Knowledge a crisis like situation occurred at earth and gods were clueless, they approached lord Shiva for solution, lord suggested Churning of Ocean named as ksheer Sagar, God lead by Lord Indra and Demons were lead by noble King Bali they agreed to partner the churning process, Lord Vishnu took the form of Tortoise on which roller can be placed for churning mountain Mandrachal was made roller, King of snakes was made the rope for churning, from which 14 Ratna (valuables) were produced. In the same process of churning of ocean “The Pot of Immortality” (Amrit Kalas) was also produced. It is believed that those who drink Amrit become immortal.
According to holy books, during the battle between the Gods and Demons (Devasur Sangram) churning of ocean was done, from which 14 Ratan(valuables) were produced. In the same process of churning of ocean “The Pot Of Immorality” (Amrit Kalas) was also produced. It is believed that those who drink Amrit becomes immortal. Because of this region Lord Vishnu divided the Amrit only in the Gods. After the division of Amrit between the Gods, the leftover of Amrit was kept safe with God Indra. +Read More
The Four Places where Maha Kumbh Mela is celebrated are;
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kumbh Mela (/ˌkʊm ˈmeɪlə/ or /ˌkʊm məˈlɑː/; Devanagari: कुम्भ मेला "kumbh mēlā", Marathi कुंभमेळा) is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. It is considered to be largest peaceful gathering in the world with over 100 million people visiting during the Maha Kumbh Mela in 2013. It is held every third year at one of the four places by rotation: Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayag), Nashik and Ujjain. Thus the Kumbh Mela is held at each of these four places every twelfth year. Ardh ("Half") Kumbh Mela is held at only two places, Haridwar and Allahabad, every sixth year. The rivers at these four places are: the Ganges (Ganga) at Haridwar, the confluence (Sangam) of the Ganges and the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati at Allahabad, the Godawari at Nashik, and the Shipra at Ujjain.
Kumbh means a pitcher and Mela means fair in Hindi. The pilgrimage is held for about one and a half months at each of these four places where it is believed in Hinduism that drops of nectar fell from the Kumbh carried by gods after the sea was churned. The festival is billed as the "world’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims". There is no scientific method of ascertaining the number of pilgrims, and the estimates of the number of pilgrims bathing on the most auspicious day may vary; approximately 80 million people attended on 14 February 2013.
Mauni Amavasya traditionally attracted the largest crowds at the mela, held here every 12 years. The current Kumbh Mela was held on 14 January 2013 at Allahabad.The day marked the second and the biggest Shahi Snan (royal bath) of this event, with 13 akharas taking to the Sangam. 10 Feb 2013 was the biggest bathing day at the ongoing Maha Kumbh Mela and probably the largest human gathering on a single day. Over 30 million devotees and ascetics took holy dip on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya.
The first written evidence of the Kumbha Mela can be found in the accounts of Chinese monk Xuanzang (玄奘, alternately Hsuan Tsang) who visited India in 629–645 CE, during the reign of King Harshavardhana. However, similar observances date back many centuries, where the river festivals first started getting organised. According to medieval Hindu theology, its origin is found in one of the most popular medieval puranas, the Bhagavata Purana. The Samudra manthan episode (Churning of the ocean of milk), is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, the Mahabharata, and the Ramayana.
The account goes that the Devas had lost their strength by the curse of Durväsä Muni, and to regain it, they approached Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva. They directed all the demigods to Lord Vishnu (full story on kumbh mela) and after praying to Lord Vishnu, he instructed them to churn the ocean of milk Ksheera Sagara (primordial ocean of milk) to receive amrita (the nectar of immortality). This required them to make a temporary agreement with their arch enemies, the Asuras, to work together with a promise of sharing the wealth equally thereafter. However, when the Kumbha (urn) containing the amrita appeared, a fight ensued. For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the Devas and Asuras fought in the sky for the pot of amrita. It is believed that during the battle, Lord Vishnu (incarnated as Mohini-Mürti) flew away with the Kumbha of elixir spilling drops of amrita at four places: Allahabad (Prayag), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik.
Kumbh Mela takes place every twelve years at one of four places: Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. The Mela in its different forms alternates between Prayag, Nashik, Ujjain and Haridwar every third year. The Ardh (half) Kumbh Mela is celebrated every six years at only two places, Haridwar and Prayag.
Kumbha Mela: Held at all four places.
Ardha Kumbha Mela: Held at Haridwar and Prayag, every 6 years.
Purna Kumbha Mela: Held only at Prayag every 12 years.
Maha Kumbha Mela: Held only at Prayag, every 144 years.
The Triveni Sangam, or the intersection of Yamuna River and Ganges River and the mythical Sarasvati River, where devotees perform rituals.
Triveni Sangam, the meeting place, of the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati.
On the bank of river Ganga.
There are 14 Akhadas, of which 11 belong to the Shaiv sect (of the 11 Shaiv Akhadas, one—Bhudad Akhada—is defunct, while 10 are active) and 3 to the Vaishnav sect. The Shaiv Akhadas take a holy dip at Kushavart in Trimbakeshwar, about 30 km from Nashik. The Vaishnav Akhadas perform rituals at Ramkund in Godavari and stay at Tapovan. The Vaishnav Akhadas have Khalsas (religious groups headed by Mahants attached with Akhadas) attached with them. Both Shaiv and Vaishnav Sadhus used to take the holy dip in Trimbakeshwar, until 1838, when a clash between them led to bloodshed and the Peshwa ruler requested Shaiv sadhus to perform rituals at Trimbakeshwar and Vaishnavs to move downstream to Ramkund in Nashik.
On the bank of river Shipra.
Upcoming Kumbh Mela festivals:
The next Kumbh Mela will be held at Nashik on the bank of the river Godavari in 2015 (15 August to 13 September). The Kumbh at Ujjain is also called "Simhastha"(as Guru will be in Singh Rashi).
Ujjain Purna Kumbh Mela 2016
Kumbh Mela is celebrated at different locations depending on the position of the planet of Bṛhaspati (Jupiter) and the sun. When Jupiter and the sun are in the zodiac sign Leo (Simha Rashi) it is held in Trimbakeshwar, Nashik; when the sun is in Aquarius (Kumbh Rashi) it is celebrated at Haridwar; when Jupiter is in Taurus (Vrishabha Rashi ) and the sun is in Capricorn (Makar Rashi) Kumbha Mela is celebrated at Prayag; and Jupiter and the sun are in Scorpio (Vrishchik Rashi) the Mela is celebrated at Ujjain. Each site's celebration dates are calculated in advance according to a special combination of zodiacal positions of Sun, Moon, and Jupiter.
Kumbh Mela at Prayag, 2001
Maha Kumbh 2013
According to The Imperial Gazetteer of India, an outbreak of cholera occurred at the 1892 Mela at Haridwar leading to the rapid improvement of arrangements by the authorities and to the formation of Haridwar Improvement Society. In 1903 about 400,000 people are recorded as attending the fair. During the 1954 Kumbh Mela stampede at Prayag, around 500 people were killed, and scores were injured. Ten million people gathered at Haridwar for the Kumbh on 14 April 1998.
In 2001, more than 40 million gathered on the busiest of its 55 days.
According to the Mela Administration's estimates, around 70 million people participated in the 45-day Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag in 2007.
The last "Kumbh Mela" held in 2001 in Prayag was estimated by the authorities to have attracted between 30 and 70 million people.
The current Maha Kumbh Mela began on 14 January 2013 at Prayag. According to expectations more than 100 million people will attend the 2013 Kumbha mela.
Naga sadhu procession 1998 Kumbh Mela
The major event of the festival is ritual bathing at the banks of the river in whichever town Kumbh Mela being held:Ganga in Haridwar, Godavari in Nasik, Kshipra in Ujjain and Sangam (confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati) in Allahabad (Prayag. Nasik has registered maximum visitors to 75 million. 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.
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.”
The order of entering the water is fixed, with the Juna,the Niranjani and Mahanirvani akharas preceeding. 
Most significant days during the Kumbh Mela
Bhishma Ekadasi Snan
On this day, Bhishma Pithamaha, the oldest, wisest, most powerful and most righteous person belonging to the Kuru dynasty (approx. over 5000 years ago), narrated the greatness of Lord Krishna through Sri Vishnu Sahasranama to Yudhishtira, the oldest brother of Pandavas.
Recent Kumbha Melas
According to Paramahansa Yogananda in his work the Autobiography of a Yogi, it was during the Kumbha Mela in January 1894 at Prayag that his Guru Sri Yukteswar met Mahavatar Babaji for the first time.
When the Kumbha Mela was held in Nashik, India, from 27 July to 7 September 2003, 39 pilgrims (28 women and 11 men) were trampled to death and 57 were injured. 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.
More than 70 million people visited Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag.
Haridwar hosted the Purna Kumbha mela from Makar Sankranti (14 January 2010) to Shakh Purnima Snan (28 April 2010). Millions of Hindu pilgrims attended the mela. On 14 April 2010, alone approximately 10 million people bathed in the Ganges river. According to officials by mid April about 40 million people had bathed since 14 January 2010. Hundreds of foreigners joined Indian pilgrims in the festival which is thought to be the largest religious gathering in the world. To accommodate the large number of pilgrims Indian Railways ran special trains. At least 5 people died in a stampede after clashes between holy men and devotees.
Indian Space Research Organisation took satellite pictures of the crowds with the hope of improving the conduct of the festival in the future.
The Maha Kumbha Mela is held at Allahabad (Prayag) (27 January to 10 March 2013). An estimated 30 million people visited the Maha Kumbh Mela on 10 February 2013 and an estimated 100 million are expected to visit the place during the festival spread over 55 days. On 10 February 2013 a stampede at the railway station killed 36 and injured at least 39. In the vast crowds some elderly people, predominantly women, are abandoned by their families.
Here are the details of most auspicious days (bathing dates) in year 2013 during Maha Kumbh Festival (mela).
14 January 2013 (Monday) – Makar Sankranti
27 January 2013 (Sunday) – Paush Purnima
6 February 2013 (Wednesday) – Ekadashi Snan
10 February 2013 (Sunday) – Mauni Amavasya Snan (Main Bathing Day)
15 February 2013 (Friday) – Vasant Panchami Snan
17 February 2013 (Sunday) – Rath Saptami Snan
21 February 2013 (Thursday) – Bhisma Ekadashi Snan
25 February 2013 (Monday) – Maghi Purnima Snan
10 March 2013 (Sunday) – Mahashivratri
Kumbha Mela in media
Amrita Kumbher Sandhane, a 1982 Bengali feature film directed by Dilip Roy, documents the Kumbh Mela. Kumbha Mela has been theme for many a documentaries, including "Kumbh Mela: The Greatest Show on Earth" (2001) directed by Graham Day, On 24 September, The Hindu reported the great faith in god displayed in Kumbh Mela at Nasik which had more than 70 million visitors in 2003 Kumbh Mela. (2004), by Maurizio Benazzo and Nick Day, Kumbh Mela: Songs of the River (2004), by Nadeem Uddin, and Invocation, Kumbha Mela (2008).
On 18 April 2010, a popular American morning show The CBS Sunday Morning gave an extensive coverage on Haridwar's Kumbh Mela "The Largest Pilgrimage on Earth". Calling it "one of the most extraordinary displays of faith on Earth, a spectacular journey drawing tens of millions of people".
Short Cut to Nirvana: Kumbh Mela is a 2004 documentary film was set in the 2001 Maha Kumbh Mela at Allahabad. This film is directed by Nick Day and produced by "Maurizio Benazzo".
On 28 April 2010, BBC reported an audio and a video report on Kumbh Mela, titled "Kumbh Mela 'greatest show on earth'.
On 30 September 2010, the Kumbh Mela featured in the second episode of the Sky One TV series "An Idiot Abroad" with Karl Pilkington visiting the festival.
"Amrit Nectar of Immortality" (2012) is a documentary which was shot at the Kumbh Mela 2010 in Haridwar, this film is directed by Jonas Scheu and Philipp Eyer.
Allahabad: Kumbh Mela 2013, considered to be the biggest congregation of Pilgrims and devotees across the world, yet it turned out also to be a big congregation of Technology.
State government took this opportunity to showcase its achievements.
On 10 Feb 2013, Media reported that 36 people died in a stampede at the Allahabad railway station, the union and state governments have denied that organizational lapses may have contributed to the tragedy; they say the massive rush of passengers, returning from a dip in the waters of the Ganga and Yamuna, at the Maha Kumbh, the world's largest religious festival.
In March, 2013, the documentary "Inside the Mahakumbh" by French filmmaker Diego Bunuel is being shown world-wide.
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