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MAHA KUMBH YATRA

Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimages of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. It is the world's largest religious gathering. It is held every third year at one of the four places by rotation: Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayag), Nasik 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, Hardwar 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 Nasik, and the Shipra at Ujjain.

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ALLAHABAD MAHA KUMBH/ ARDH KUMBH MELA

      It wouldn't be wrong to say that it is the city of God as the name itself, Allahabad, in Persian means Settled by God. It for this reason, which has been innumerably mentioned in the ancient Hindu texts, and the history of the place, both mythological and factual that makes it one of the most fascinating and one among the main holy cities in India, special to the hearts of Hindus in India and abroad. It's the mythological history according to which, when Lord Brahma was done with creating the world, offered his first sacrifice here. Hence the justification of its ancient name Prayag, meaning Place of Sacrifice. The place also holds a special significance according to the Hindu scriptures for holding the confluence of three of the most sacred rivers of India: Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati at Triveni Sangam, which becomes the nucleus of all celebrations of Kumbh Mela.
      The story that the drops of nectar of immortality fell near Sangam is believed by the people to have given mystical powers to the place as millions gather at the ghats to purge themselves of all sins by taking a dip in the waters and attain Moksha (Salvation). Young and old, fit and frail; all regions, castes, and creed aside, it becomes the single most brilliantly unifying experience ever. The place itself, overrun by Naga Sadhus, who never wear any clothes and are always smeared in ash; Urdhwavahurs, non-indulgent in physical pleasures; Parivajakas, having taken a vow of silence; and Shirshasins, who stand for all 24 hours and meditate, transforms as if from another realm.

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NASIK MAHA KUMBH MELA

      The Nasik Kumbhmela celebration is held once in every 12 years in Nashik - it is scheduled for 2015. It draws millions of devotees and tourists from all over the country and the world. Trimbakeshwar is a holy town that houses one of the twelve Jyotirlingas in India. It also is the origin of the river Godavari and is situated 38 kms away from Nasik. The Sinhasta Kumbh Mela is held once in 12 years in Nashik and Trimbakeshwar. According to historical records, Nasik is one of four places where the elixir of immortality, the 'amrit', fell to earth from a pitcher as gods and demons were engaged in the tussle to gain the ownership of the jar full of 'amrit'. The Kumbh Mela rotates among the four holy sites every three years. The Kumbh Mela is marked by millions of devotees' plunge into the river Godavari that is believed would cleanse their souls leading to salvation. A ritual bath at a predetermined time and place is the major event of the festival. 

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MAHA KUMBH MELA HARIDWAR (The gateway of GOD)

      Hardwar stands as the gateway to the four pilgrimages of Uttaranchal. Geographically and geological, Hardwar, lying at the feet of Shiva's hills, i.e., Shivaliks, in the Hardwar district of Uttaranchal Pradesh, is a doorway. Suryavanshi prince Bhagirath performed penance here to salvage the souls of his ancestors who had perished due to the curse of sage Kapila. The penance was answered and the river Ganga trickled forth from Lord Shiva's locks and its bountiful water revived the sixty thousand sons of king Sagara. In the traditional of Bhagirath, devout Hindus stand in the sacred waters here, praying for salvation of their departed elder. It is doorway to the sources of the Ganga and the Yamuna, 3000 to 4500 meters up into the snowy ranges of the central Himalayas. The 'Aarti' worship of the Ganga after sunset and the floating 'dia' (lamp) is a moving ritual.
      The observance of Maha Kumbh Mela has achieved international popularity as "The biggest act of faith." Millions of pilgrims come to participate in the holy event of Maha Kumbh with a tremendous faith. They have a "persistent trust in something sublime". The pilgrims come from all walks of life, with a belief that their sins will be washed off in the holy waters of the sacred river Ganges if they take a dip during the Kumbh but the actual and more science based reasons are different. It is actually the position of stars and constellations during the Kumbh that makes it significant to take a dip in the river at that time. Actually Kumbh Mela takes place during an auspicious planetary position that is believed to medicate the Ganges waters with a concentration of certain rays due to their position and turn the river into nectar. Millions of devotees arrive to purify their inner self through holy bathing rituals. (Possibly a lot of skin diseases are cured duri ng that time).
      The religious history of Kumbh Yatra (Kumbh Mela) remains associated with numerous legends. There is an interesting legend which relates to the origin of the Kumbh Yatra (Kumbh Mela). Hindus believe that Lord Brahma gave gods a piece of advice to rid them of their weakness, caused during the creation of the earth. Following Lord Brahma's advice, the gods began to churn the ocean to obtain amrit from its waters. As the task was quite tough, the gods sought the assistance of demons. The gods, in return, made a deal with the demons that the latter could have half of the nectar that was too obtained from the ocean. The demons agreed to it. However, after the gods became successful in procuring the nectar, they tried to run away without sharing half of it with the demons, as was promised in the deal, 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-Murti) flew away with the Kumbha of elixir spilling drops of amrita at four places: Allahabad (Prayag), Hardwar, Ujjain and Nasik.

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UJJAIN MAHA KUMBH MELA

    Kumbh The celebration of Kumbh Mela takes place at the four sacred places as per the position of Sun and Jupiter in different zodiac signs. Poorna Kumbh is held at Ujjain once in every 12 years when the zodiac sign Scorpio (Vrishchik Rashi) indicates the presence of Jupiter and Sun. Ujjain is located at the bank of Shipra River in western region of Madhya Pradesh and is seen as one of the most sacred places in India. The city is enriched with several religious shrines such as Bade Ganeshji Ka Mandir, Mahakaleshwar, Vikram Kirti Temple and many others. On the occasion of Kumbh Mela the divinity and spiritual aroma of Ujjain meets its highest peak when millions of pilgrims take dips and worship sacred River Shipra. Sages and devotees from every nook and corner attend the religious ceremony of Kumbh Mela to attain salvation and libration from the vicious cycle of birth-death-rebirth. 
    According The commemoration of Mela at Ujjain is known as 'Simhastha Kumbh Mela' in which the unique combination of divinity and purity is experienced when the crowd of ash-dubbed sages, priests, devotees gets fused together with the roaring of elephants and camels. People who witness the spiritual fest feel good fortune by their side and sense positive aroma purifying their souls and thoughts. Major attraction of this festival is 'Shahi Snan' (royal bath) which takes place on predetermined dates varying every year. It is believed that those who take royal bath in holy Shipra River on the occasion of Kumbh Mela wash their sins of all previous births. The devotees consider it as an opportunity to get them revived from the never ending birth cycle.

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