Kumbha (Kumbha means pot) Mela is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage that takes place at the following four locations of India
  • Prayag (near the city of Allahabad, in the state of Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of three rivers Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and Saraswati
  • Haridwar (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) where the river Ganga enters the plains from Himalayas
  • Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), on the banks of Ksipra river, and
  • Nasik (in Maharashtra) on the banks of Godavari river.
The pilgrimage occurs four times every twelve years, once at each of the four locations. Each twelve-year cycle includes the Maha (great) Kumbha Mela at Prayag, attended by millions of people, making it the largest pilgrimage gathering around the world.

The observance of Kumbha Mela is based upon the following story : thousands of years ago, perhaps in the Vedic period, gods and demons made a temporary agreement to work together in obtaining amrita (the nectar of immortality) from the Milky Ocean, and to share this equally. However, when the Kumbha (pot) containing the amrita appeared, the demons ran away with the pot and were chased by the gods. For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the gods and demons fought in the sky for the possession of this pot of amrita. It is said that during the battle, drops of amrita fell on to four places : Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. Thus, Kumbha mela is observed at these four locations where the nectar fell.

Kumbha Mela is attended by millions of people on a single day. A ritual bath at a predetermined time and place is the major event of this festival. Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men/women and the poor, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardized. Kumbha Mela (especially the Maha Kumbha Mela) is the most sacred of all the Hindu pilgrimages. Thousands of holy men/women (monks, saints, sadhus) grace the occasion by their presence. The suspiciousness of Kumbha Mela is in part attributed to the gathering of thousands of holy men/women at one place on earth

According to astrologers, the 'Kumbh Fair' takes place when the planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries.

Kumbh Mela-Allahabad-2018, 2019
In accordance with the traditional Hindu calendar followed in North India, this holy fair is organised every year during the Hindu month of Magh (corresponding to mid January - mid February of the Gregorian calendar); hence the name.

The Magh Mela is, however, not confined only to the month of Magh and the important bathing dates are spread over a period of 45 days. The Magh Mela is actually a smaller version of Kumbh Mela. Hence it is also known as mini Kumbh Mela. Every year, the Magh Mela commences on the day of Makkar Sankranti in January, which is the first important bathing day according to the religious Hindu calendar. It begins with multitudes of pilgrims taking a holy dip at the Sangam on auspicious dates.

A large number of people arrive here annually and stay in makeshift houses or tents at the Sangam, spending the entire month of Magh in prayers. This period is known as "Kalpvas". Those who religiously observe the "Kalpvas" are known as "Kalpvasis". The ancient Hindu Vedas mention a "Kalp" to be the period equal to the total number of years in the four yugas - Satyug, Treta, Dwapar and Kalyug. This adds up to several millions of years. It is said that by piously observing a "Kalpavas", a devotee overcomes the sins in his/her previous birth and escapes the cycle of Janma(birth) and Karma (actions).

During each day of the Magh Mela, a Kalpvasi has to take a dip at the Ganges on sunrise praying to the rising sun. Majority of the Kalpvasis partake only a meal a day. After observing 12 Kalpavas, a Kalpavasi has to donate his/her bed and all his belongings (a ritual known as "Shayya Daan").

The Uttar Pradesh government annually makes special arrangements for the devotees during this time. A greater number of buses ply to let the pilgrims have their journey in peace and without any inconvenience. A township of tents specially come up on the banks of the Sangam to provide shelter to the visiting millions who turn up from all over the country. Adequate medical and security arrangements are made to avoid any untoward incidents. "Lost and Found" camps are also set up and manned by the local police to prevent anyone getting missing during the days of the fair. Every twelfth year, the Magh Mela is transformed into the Kumbha Mela. Uttar Pradesh is flooded with millions of pilgrims who arrive here during this time to attend this grand event.


Bathing Dates of Magh Mela-2018
Paush Purnima02 January 2018
Makar Sankranti14 January 2018
Mauni Amavasya16 January 2018
Basant Panchami22 January 2018
Maghi Poornima31 January 2018
Maha Shivratri13 February 2018


Bathing Dates of Ardh Kumbh Mela-2019
Makar Sankranti (1St shahi Snan)15 January 2019
Paush Purnima21 January 2019
Mauni Amavasya (Main Royal Bath 2nd Shahi Snan)04 February 2019
Basant Panchami (3rd shahi Snan)10 February 2019
Maghi Poornima19 February 2019
Maha Shivratri04 March 2019


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