The new year ushers in the most important Mela in the Hindu calendar and that is the Kumbh ka Mela at the Prayagraj starting on 15th January and ending on 4th March. This frenzy of religious fervour will go on for over a month. Pilgrims, philosophers, religious scholars and nagas alike will depend on Prayag to bathe in the mighty confluence of three great Indian rivers – The Ganga, The Yamuna and the Saraswati. The latter being the mystical river that cannot be seen as it only flows underground. That is what the legend says, that it simply dried up.
The ancient stories of the Vedas tell us that a war took place between the Demons and The Gods. During the Samudra Manthan, a pot of Amrit came out of the Manthan. At this point, Vishnu turned into his female form Mohini and stole the pot of Amrit from the demons. While they chased her to the heavens or Devloka, a few drops of Amrit fell on the earth. These were drops of potent energy full of nectar and divinity. The drops fell on four places where the Kumbh ka Mela is celebrated – Ujjain, Prayag, Haridwar and Nashik.
The Mela has three different names. You have the Kumbh, the Ardh Kumbh and the Maha Kumbh celebrated every six years, every 12 years and every 144 years respectively. These spots where the Amrit fell become pure and full of conscious energy. It is said one can cleanse themselves of all human pain, suffering and sin just by bathing in the waters of the Ganges here at the right days when the energies are at the most potent along with the right planetary conditions.
The Rig Veda, one of the most ancient Vedas and Hindu scriptures, talks of this great Mela, which lenses the souls of the pilgrims killing off negative emotions of hate, lust, fear and despair. It was a festival that spread from the time of the great king Harshvardhan and spread through word of mouth. Even today, there are no official invites to invite people to this grand event. Korean to Chinese philosophers have talked about the power and mystical magic of this great religious gathering where people from all walks of life come to bathe and rejuvenate their soul. The bathing dates are as follows.
|Snan Parva||Day & Date|
|Makar Sankranti (1st shahi Snan)||15 Jan 2019|
|Paush Purnima||21 Jan 2019|
|Paush Ekadashi||31 Jan 2019|
|Mauni Amavasya (2nd Shahi Snan)||04 Feb 2019|
|Basant Panchami (3rd shahi Snan)||10 Feb 2019|
|Magh Ekadashi||16 Feb 2019|
|Maghi Purnima||19 Feb 2019|
|Maha Shivratri||04 Mar 2019|
The railways have spent more than 700 crores in upgrading the facility at the railway stations connecting Prayag to other cities. There are also air services for Delhi. There are four major railway stations in Allahabad and all of them will cater to special railway service for the Mela. Two tier ac trains will carry passengers back and forth. Special overhead bridges, underhand bridges and platforms have been made to cater to the growing flow of pilgrims. It is estimated that nearly 15 crore pilgrims will attend the event overall.
Tents near the river shore will be in full swing so will the team of police officers, doctors, army personnel and security guards. CCTV cameras have been put on all important and strategic places to tighten security, as many high profile dignitaries, politicians, businesspersons and civil servants will be gracing the event. The Mela will rekindle the Hindu spirit issues like the Ram Janam Bhoomi as most people here want to see the temple being made. As such, it will also be returned into a political mela.
As it is, Prayag is full of posters and hoardings showing Rahul Gandhi as the Neelkanth who has drunk the fish of politics. His mother Sonia is dressed up as Jhansi Ki Rani ala Kangana Ranaut and is mounted on top of a horse with a sword in one hand. As 15 crore pilgrims will be setting foot in the Mela, heat and sanitation will be of the utmost importance. Government website announcing the mela carries videos showing clean bathrooms, toilets and bed set facilities.
This is also a festival where one can experience first-hand ancient Indian mantras, yangs and sects like the Agodis. The Nagas, the tribe of the naked sages, bathes here and there is a fight every morning between the sects as to who will bathe in the mother river Ganges first. There are dances, music, meditation and tantra practices at display. The famous Himalaya clinic has also organised 11-day courses teaching people about ancient Hindu mantras and yogic postures to weed of negative energies that remind trapped within us due to daily world duties that we perform.
The sunset over the river Ganges and the boats meandering in it along with Vedic chants and Artis make it a perfect place to rest and immerse oneself in the search of the self. It is a holy land waiting to hug you and heal you of all your worldly aches and pains.
One can do hotel and tent booking in advance through the official websites and the internet is full of tour packages from three to 14 days. Some sites that one can check to get more travel and event information are as follows.
With the presence of the Chief Minister Adi Yoginath, the event will also be of high profile. It is a must-see spectacle for anyone who wants to connect to the spiritual soul of India.