India is a country which is renowned all over the world for giving supreme importance to faith and religion, with Hinduism being one of the most widely followed religion in the country. The Kumbh Mela is one of the most important religious congregations of the Hindus. The largest fair in the world, it is organized once in every three years rotationally at the religious destinations of Ujjain, Nashik, Haridwar and Allahabad. Allahabad is the venue of the holy sangam, where the pious rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati merge into one and the Hindu pilgrims gather here to take a dip at the sangam, with the aim of purifying their bodies and minds.
Here are 10 interesting and unknown facts about the Kumbh Mela:
#1. One of the biggest holy gatherings of Hinduism, the Kumbh Mela attracts as many as 70 million pilgrims from around the world. They come here to attain salvation from the unending cycle of life and death, which is also known as moksha in the religion.
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#2. There are four venues for the Kumbh Mela, which are Ujjain, Nashik, Haridwar and Allahabad,each having the mela after every three years. The ardha Kumbh Mela is held at Haridwar and Allahabad (Prayag) after every six years, the purna Kumbh Mela is held at Allahabad (Prayag) after 12 years and Maha Kumbh Mela takes place at Allahabad (Prayag) after 144 years.
#3. The Kumbh Mela is attended by pilgrims as well as sadhus. The naga sadhus participate in this festival and they are completely naked.
#4. The main ritual of the Kumbh Mela is bathing on the banks of the sacred river which flow at the place where the mela is being organized, namely Ganga in Haridwar, Sangam in Allahabad, Kshipra in Ujjain and Godavari in Nashik.
#5. The next Kumbh Mela is to be held in 2016, this time in Ujjain on the banks of River Kshipra.
#6. The legend behind Kumbh Mela is that it is held every 12 years as it represents the 12 days and 12 nights of the war between the Gods and Demons. One day and one night in heaven is considered equal to one human year.
#7. It is believed that during the battle, some drops of the elixir fell on these four places on the earth, which have lent great powers to the water of the rivers flowing at these places. In present time, they have become the venues of the Kumbh Mela
#8. The mela is organized according to a special planetary configuration, when Sun enters Aries and Jupiter enters Aquarius. Some years hold special significance as such configurations get repeated after very long gaps.
#9. Amongst the venues of the Kumbh Mela, Allahabad or Prayag is revered as the most scared one. Firstly, it is the place where the three sacred rivers come together to form the holy sangam and secondly, it is revered as the place of first sacrifice performed by Lord Brahma after the creation of the universe.
#10. Special facilities are provided for the millions of pilgrims who gather to celebrate this great event. These facilities include toilets, temporary hospitals, doctors on call and thousands of police personnel to manage the crowd and security.
All these wonderful facts have made the amazing Kumbh Mela even more amazing!