The Kumbh Mela (the festival of the sacred pitcher) is anchored in Hindu mythology. It is the largest public gathering and collective act of faith, anywhere in the world. It is a religious pilgrimage that is celebrated four times over a course of 12 years. Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 has been placed in the Guinness World Records in three sectors.
Geographical Location and Selection of Site
The geographical location of Kumbh Mela spans over four locations in India and the Mela site keeps rotating between one of the four pilgrimage places on four sacred rivers as listed below:
1. Haridwar on the Ganges in Uttarakhand.
2. Ujjain on the Shipra in Madhya Pradesh.
3. Nashik on the Godavari in Maharashtra.
4. Prayagraj at the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the mythical Sarasvati in Uttar Pradesh.
Each site’s celebration is based on a distinct set of astrological positions of the Sun, the Moon, and the Jupiter. The celebrations occur at the exact moment when these positions are fully occupied, as it is considered to be the holiest time in Hinduism.
Origin of Kumbha Mela:
The origin of Kumbh Mela was transcribed by the 8th-century philosopher Shankara. The founding myth of the Kumbh Mela points out to the Puranas.
1. The first written evidence of the Kumbha Mela is mentioned in Bhagvat Purana.
2. Another written evidence of Kumbha Mela is in works of Huen Tsang, who visited India in 629–645 AD, during reign of Harsha.
3. The Samudra manthan episode also has mentioned in Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, Mahabharata, and Ramayana.
Types of Kumbh Mela:
1. Maha Kumbh Mela: It is held only in Prayagraj. It comes in every 144 years or after 12 Purna (Complete) Kumbh Mela.
2. Purna Kumbh Mela: It comes every 12 years. Mainly held at 4 Kumbh Mela Places in India i.e. Prayagraj, Haridwar, Nashik and Ujjain. It rotates every 12 years at these 4 places.
3. Ardh Kumbh Mela: It means Half Kumbh Mela which is held every 6 years in India only at two places i.e. Haridwar and Prayagraj.
4. Kumbh Mela: Held at four different places and is organised by the state governments. Millions of people participate with spiritual enthusiasm.
5. Magh Kumbh Mela: It is also known as Mini Kumbh Mela which is held annually and only at Prayagraj. It is organised in the month of Magh according to the Hindu Calender
Interesting facts about Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019:
1. Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 has been placed in the Guinness World Records in three sectors. The three sectors are:
a) Largest traffic and crowd management plan,
b) The biggest painting exercise of public sites under “Paint my City” scheme, and
c) The biggest sanitation and waste disposal mechanism.
1. The first royal bath (Shahi Snan) of the Ardh Kumbh Mela will be observed on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti. It is here that all the prominent religious groups take a dip at the Triveni Sangam at Prayagraj. The second royal bath took place on January 21 and is called Paush Poornima. The last bath was observed on the day of the festival of Maha Shivratri on March 4, 2019.
2. Peshwai is an important festivity and is a vital part of the Kumbh. Peshwai denotes the grand procession carried out to mark the beginning of the Kumbh Mela by welcoming people from all around the world.