Kumbh Mela

Kumbh Mela is a unique festival in India that has found a place on UNESCO’s Representative List Of Intangible Cultural Heritage Of Humanity. It is the largest peaceful gathering in the world.

The Kumbh Mela is held by rotation at one of the following four Locations in the world:

  1. Haridwar
  2. Allahabad
  3. Nashik
  4. Ujjain

My interest in this unique cultural phenomenon drove me to a Seminar ‘SANSKRITI KUMBH’ held at Iskcon temple Mumbai, organized by Chairman of Essel group and member of rajya sabha  Mr Subhash Chandra Goenka

The seminar was held in the presence of Chief minister of Maharashtra Devendra Phadnavis, Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Aditya Nath , Mr Subhash Chandra Goenka ,General Secretary of RSS Bhayya Ji Joshi and Subhash Ghai a renowned director and producer in Bollywood.

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Many other celebrities from the Indian film industry were a part of this event including Madhur Bhandarkar, Ronit Roy , Ashok Pandit, Manoj Joshi, Himesh reshmiya, Mika singh , Manoj Tiwari ( also a politician) . Chairman of CBFC Prasoon Joshi and Author Ratan Shardha were also present.

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The seminar started with everyone standing up to India’s national song ‘Vande Mataram’ performed by a renowned artist. Followed by Celebrities like Kailash Kher, Sonu Nigam, Sukhwinder Singh and Manoj Tiwari performing songs of cultural and national importance.

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The mythological and scientific relevance of The Kumbh Mela ,that is being attended by generations for over 3000 thousand years, was presented by means of interesting video skits.

According to the Samudra Manthan Mythology -the Gods (Devas) and the Malevolent Beings (Asuras) were at a war. The Devas sought the advise of Lord Vishnu to help them vanquish the Asuras. Vishnu suggested that Devas must obtain the Nectar of immortality (Amrita) by churning the ocean(samudra) of milk hence the name Samudra Manthan (churning of the ocean). The devas and asuras agreed to share the amrita after the churning process and used Vasuki a serpent as a churning rope. The devas and asuras pulled back and forth at the churning rope and the mountain that rested on the top of a turtle’s shell(Vishnu took the form of the Kumra turtle) churned the ocean. As soon as the nectar of immortality was produced the devas took it along, leaving the asuras behind, during this process a few drops of the nectar fell into the waters rivers. These are the very places where the kumbha is held and people attend this mela to take a dip in the holy waters at the Kumbh.

There’s a Scientific significance of Kumbh Mela too. At the time of kumbha there is a unique alignment of the planet Jupiter, the Sun and the Moon. The effect of the alignment is on the waters of the river , on the banks of which the kumbha mela is held. Sadhguru featured in a short clipping at the event confirming that Bathing in the waters of the river has a unique positive effect on the Mind and Body of a person and he/she shall even notice a great spiritual progress in oneself.

Mr. Subhash Chandra Goenka, spoke about this 3000 year old practice of attending the Kumbh, an event of bathing in the holy river waters , with around 130 million visitors from various socio-cultural backgrounds, and invited the chief ministers for their words on the same.

Chief Minister Devendra Phadnavis in his speech drew a apt image India, a country that has seen many invasions and has yet stood strong due to its foundation of VASUDEVA KUTUMBAKAM- the whole world is one family. The different religions, castes and cultures in India coexist in harmony due to a positive attitude adopted by Indians and this has been a huge strength for the nation. This ability to manage A large and diverse population is reflected in the age old Kumbh festival, where people from all walks of life are present at one place and at one time in a peaceful environment. He also mentioned that MIT has conducted a study of how wonderfully the crowd was managed at Nashik Kumbh in 2015 where even if a single person was lost he/she was reunited with one’s family by the efficient authorities at kumbh. He invited everyone to Kumbh 2019 at allahbad stating that it is a unique opportunity to be a part of a historic event.

 Chief minister Yogi Aditya Nath was invited next, he in his speech, cleared a lot of Rumors ,that are being spread over the years about the extreme stampede like situations at kumbh, and said that many people are under the false impression that people once lost at kumbh may never reunite with their families. He assured us that Things are very different at Kumbh, though there are millions of visitors, things are organized very well with facilities to stay in well-equipped Tents,  Thousands of lavatories, Hospital facilities, water facilities, adequate crowd control measures and other arrangements. He also spoke about how he believes that the KUMBH MELA commencing in January 2019 will establish new standards of cleanliness and hygiene with No dirt and No flies and No bad smell, inspired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Swatch Bharat campaign. The area across which the activities at Kumbha will be held will also be larger this time.

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Chief Minister Yogi Aditya Nath mentioned that rumors of communal hostility are often generated to discourage people from certain castes and faiths from attending this festival. But this is far from true, the fact is that it is very common for people from different castes and faiths to attend this peaceful congregation of millions. With this he urged his audience to attend and to encourage people both from India and abroad to attend the The Kumbh Mela 2019.

The CM of UP also recommended people attending the Kumbh to visit some places of historic significance very close to Kumbh-Allahabad namely Chitrakoot and kashi.

Another essential point I took home from the seminar was that the kumbh is held for 56 days and It was a practice in earlier times to be present and bath daily in the holy waters during this period. But, due to the fast urban lifestyle it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to be present for such a length away from their workplaces so to obtain benefits of this phenomenon Sadhguru urged people to meditate for 40 days from their places of residence and then bath in the holy waters.

Bhayya Ji Joshi concluded the seminar acknowledging the efforts of CM Yogi Aditya Nath in aiming to make Kumbh 2019 a grand success. He requested everyone to attend this age old cultural congregation and suggested some places nearby of religious and cultural importance that one could visit.

IMG-20180908-WA0073It was in all a fantastic informative and interesting event, as a youth I am now able to appreciate the significance of the Kumbh and intend to attend it, I urge all those who are reading this to attend the largest peaceful gathering of people where there shall be no disease no epidemic and no panic but only gains in the form of physical, mental, psychological and spiritual benefits.

The expected crowd this time at Kumbh shall be 150 million which is equal to the population of UK and Germany put together and all the required facilities will be available for anyone who wishes to be an attendee, expected levels of cleanliness and hygiene will be maintained and Technical support is being developed to assist the police force in effectively managing the movement and saftey of the crowd.

Kumbh 2019 in ALLAHBAD will begin on January 15, 2019 and end on March 4 , 2019.

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