The Ardh Kumbh Mela in Prajagraj is a religious and auspicious gathering of devotees from all around the world. They come together to gain more spiritual clarity, belief and to cleanse themselves of all their sins by being a part of the ritual bathing ceremony every year. Devotees take a dip in the holy Triveni Sangam which is located in Prayagraj. Religious pujas, prayers and mantras are performed by the Sadhus. Each of them wears a Saffron colored clothing and the prayers and pujas are performed with great zeal. Come and be a part of the fairs, spiritual ceremony and attain salvation in the holiest and most religious spiritual gathering. It is the perfect opportunity to tune in to your inner self as well as to get a first-hand witness of the Indian culture and traditions dating back to several centuries ago.
Both the UNESCO, as well as the United Nations Organisation, have declared the Ardh Kumbh Mela to be an intangible cultural heritage. It is the largest gathering where people gather in abundance and in peacefulness with the sole purpose of attaining salvation as well as to fulfill all of their religious obligations. People from all over the world as well as from different background and races come together to be a part of it without any discrimination.
Image Source: kumbh.gov.in
Program and schedule of the Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019:
The Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019 will take place at Prayagraj. It is held every 6 years which makes 2019 the year to celebrate it. This occasion is celebrated between the month of January and February and the exact dates are calculated as per the planetary movement and position of Jupiter when it positions itself in Aries or Taurus and the sun and moon positions in the Capricorn. The Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019 is to be held from 15th January to 4th March 2019 and this year as well it is sure to be the main focus of religious celebrations. It is estimated to bring together more than 2 crore devotees together for this auspicious ceremony.
- The first Shahi Snan which is the Makar Sankranti falls on 15th January 2019, Tuesday.
- The Paush Purnima falls on 21st January 2019, Tuesday.
- The Maghi Purnima falls on 19 February 2019, Tuesday.
- The 2nd Shahi Snan which is the Mauni Amavasya falls on 4th February 2019, Tuesday.
- Finally, the Mahashivratri falls on 4th March 2019, Monday.
The main Attraction of the Prayagraj Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019 are the Shaivanti Naga sadhus. People of all backgrounds and cultures, whether they are from India or abroad are eager to know more about these mysterious Naga Sadhus and their lifestyle, philosophy, and devotion. During the holy bath in the Kumbh river in Prayagraj, it is the Naga sadhus who take the first dip in its holy waters. During the entire pujas and religious performance, the Naga sadhus generally remain completely naked and in their own natural human form. Apart from this, the Sadhus also hold the Trident in their hands while screaming out and chanting religious prayers and mantras. They smear themselves in ashes and smear the three-lined Tilak on their foreheads. It is believed that a Naga Sadhu remains naked their entire life as well as pray and perform pujas inside Caves as a way to attain the ultimate salvation as per the scriptures in the Bhagavad Gita and the mythological texts. Each of the Naga sadhus possesses a fiery temperament which is evident in the way they behave and perform the pooja and mantras.
The Naga Sadhu Kumbh Mela:
The Naga sadhus devotees who believe in this centuries-old ritual and who have ridden themselves of all worldly pleasures and temptations. Only such a person can become a Naga Sadhu. He has to sacrifice his body of his own accord with complete reverence and devotion as per the Hindu texts and mythology. Not anyone and everyone are accepted as a Naga Sadhu. Each of them undergoes a strict and rigorous examination to test the devotion and faith in this ancient religious belief. They are taught to possess discipline, integrity ethical values, and Faith. They also learn how to meditate and perform rituals which increases devotion in its devotees and to enable each of them to attain salvation. Only upon passing such a rigorous examination, they become a Naga Sadhu and attain the eligibility to live the highest and most challenging monastic life. Once such a person becomes a Naga Sadhu, then his entire life should be dedicated towards the Akhada, ancient rituals, and traditions.
The Kumbh Mela religious festival is held when Jupiter makes its entry into the Aquarius Zodiac and when the sun enters into the Aries. It is one of the most critical festivals as it enables each and every person attending it to attain salvation and to walk in the path of light. The Prayagraj place is believed to be the very symbol of Intelligence, and the path to light as well as the origin of the universe and the main center of the earth. Hindu mythology has it that even before the creation of the universe, Lord Brahma performed the Ashvamedha Yagya here at this very spot. The very evidence of the performance of the Aswamedha Yagya by Lord Brahma here are the Brahmeswara temple and the Yashwamedh Ghat.
The Kumbh stands for the holy urn which has its significance for the Hindu civilization. It is the confluence point of the four Vedas and Kumbh Mela makes it the complete joining of the forces of Brahma, Rudra and Lord Vishnu. Devotees participate in the Kumbh Mela as it is the very epitome of e self-awareness. It brings humanity and nature in a union with each other and it converges to form the ultimate source of energy. The religious performances, pujas, and prayers offered to make its devotees to realize the importance of attaining salvation as well as to make them aware of their sins and to clean their bodies and souls of Evil. It enlightens them and makes them realize and differentiate between light and darkness, and to choose to follow in the path of light alone. The Kumbh religious festival brings together pilgrims and devotees from all over the world as well as enables them to attain purity and awareness of their inner being. The Hindu religious Sadhus make astronomical calculations based on the planetary movements of Jupiter and it starts on the day of Makar Sankranti when both the sun as well as the moon makes its entries into the Scorpio and Jupiter in the zodiac of Aries. It holds a lot of significance as per Hindu mythology it is believed that this is the very day in which the gates of heaven from the Earth open and the Hindu devotees know the importance of taking a holy bath and dipping themselves from head to toe in the holy water as a way to liberate the souls with ease and to attain the ultimate salvation.
The Maha Kumbh event is even more auspicious and it is a religious bath in nectar that flows continuously in the sacred waters of the river Ganges. Prayagraj tops the list in being one of the most popular and holiest pilgrimage sites in the whole of India. What makes it even more special to perform all the religious Pujas and festivities is the fact that it is located on the very banks of the river Ganges in Uttar Pradesh. The main belief in the Kumbh Mela is the holy bath which is believed to wash away all your past sins and free you from the bonds of destruction, evil and death and lead you to the path of light towards heaven.
The very first recording of this ancient religious festivities was made by Hsuan Tsang who is a world-renowned ancient Traveller from China. As per is recordings in his diary he had witnessed the gathering of millions of Hindu devotees, sales, Sadhu, and even Kings!
How to reach the Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019 in Prayagraj:
You can easily reach the Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019 by flight. The nearest international airport which connects you to Prayagraj is the Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport situated in Varanasi. From there you can hire private vehicles which will take you right into the Mella spot.
You can also take direct trains to this place. There are several direct trains which connect you from other parts of the city to the main spot where the religious festivities are scheduled to be held. From the Prayagraj railway station, you can also take private Cabs, autos, share Autos and taxis to the Triveni Sangam which is the venue of the Kumbh Mela 2019.
The Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019 venue is well connected by road to the other parts of the city. Prayagraj is a major city in India which is well connected by road to the other major cities. It has its very own bus depot that facilities buses going to and from other cities in India.
You can also hire your own private vehicles, buses, tempos, and cabs to take you there. There are also frequent State transport buses and local transport. The fares are quite reasonable and cheap for everyone!