After every 12 years Kumbh Mela is celebrated in four different locations on the basis of alignment of planets since 5th century. Among the four places Haridwar is one of them where Kumbh Mela is organized. Kumbh Mela is considered as one of the largest gatherings in the world. For the Indian Hindu community Kumbh Mela is one of the biggest events. The main event of the festival in whichever city it is being held is ritual bathing at the banks of the river. Religious planning, mass feeding of holy men and women and the poor, devotional singing, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardized are the other activities of the festival. Of all the pilgrimages Kumbh Mela is the most sacred. 1000s of holy men and women attend the auspicious fair. The sadhus as per the requirements of very old traditions are seen dressed in saffron sheets with ashes and powder dabbed on their skin. Some, called naga sanyasis, even in severe winter may not wear any clothes.
This is a fair which is conducted on the banks of pious rivers at four different places of India. The places where the mela is conducted are Haridwar, on the banks of river Ganges; Allahabad by the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati, Nasik by the river Godawari and Ujjain by the river Shipra. The banks of these rivers during the festival become a large bathing ground for the rich, the poor, the sadhus and the women alike. The Kumbh Mela repeats every 12 years, for each place but in actuality there are four different Kumbh Melas which take place at different sites. For e.g. if in the year 2011, the Kumbh Mela is taking place in Prayag then the next Kumbh Mela will take place at Ujjain. Every 3 years, the normal Kumbh Mela is held, every 6 years the Ardh (half) Kumbh Mela is held at Haridwar and Allahabad (Prayag) while the Purna (complete) Kumbh mela on the basis of planetary positions takes place at 4 places Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik every 12 years. After 144 years (after 12 'Purna Kumbh Melas') the Maha Kumbh Mela is celebrated at Prayag .
When does Kumbh mela take place?
The place for Kumbh Mela is decided on the basis of the movements and position of the Sun, Moon and Jupiter in that era in different zodiac signs. Kumbh Mela is held in Trimbakeshwar, Nashik; when Jupiter and the sun are in the zodiac sign Leo (Singh Rashi), it is celebrated at Haridwar when the sun is in Aries (Mesha Rashi); Kumbha Mela is celebrated at Prayag when Jupiter is in Taurus (Vrishabha Rashi) and the sun is in Capricorn (Makar Rashi) and the Mela is celebrated at Ujjain when Jupiter and the sun are in Scorpio (Vrishchik Rashi).
In 2022 next Kumbh Mela will be organized in Haridwar. Like Kumbh mela it is Ardh Kumbh mela which is organized after every 6 years. At Haridwar in 2016 ardh kumbh mela was organized.
Ardh Kumbh mela in Haridwar
The Ardh kumbh or Half Kumbh Kumbh Mela is held at Haridwar and Allahabad every sixth year.
Ardh Kumbh melas are held at Prayag and Haridwar between two Punra (complete) Kumbh melas.
The mela is spread over 45 days.
When does Ardh Kumbh mela take place?
According to the common belief, the Ardh kumbh mela is held when Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries. Kumbha means ‘pot’ and mela means ‘fair’. The worshippers of lakhs of devotees make this event one of the largest religious gatherings on earth.