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Kumbh History

Origin of The Kumbh – According to Mythological legends, Gods at one point of time had become weak under a curse so Brahma ( the Creator) advised the Gods to retrieve the pot i.e. Kumbh containing the nectar of Immortality ( known as Amrit in Hindu religion) For this, Gods had to seek help from Demons( Asuras) to recover this pot by churning the Primordial sea ( Samudramanthan) with a promise for sharing the nectar equally. When Dhanvantari, ( known as the divine healer) appeared with the Kumbh, a fight ensued between the Gods and Demons which lasted for twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to 12 human years) for acquiring the Kumbh containing the divine nectar. It is believed that during this fierce battle, a few drops of Amrit fell from this Kumbh of Elixir in four different places namely- Allahabad ( Prayag), Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain. Since then, Hundreds and thousands of devotees and pilgrims converge to commemorate this divine event.

Kumbh Mela is celebrated every three years in rotation in these four religious places – meaning the Mela takes place in each location every twelfth year. The Ardh ( half) Kumbh Mela takes place in the sixth year between the Maha Kumbh.

During the reign of King Harshavardhana, there is first written evidence of Kumbh Mela in the accounts of a Chinese traveler- Huan Tsang or Xuanzang who visited India in 629 -645 CE and in 1903 about 400,000 people attended the fair In 1954, around 500 people were killed in Kumbh Mela stampede at Allahabad, , and scores were injured. On April14, 1998, Ten million people gathered at Kumbh Mela- Haridwar to take a dip in the holy river, Ganga . In 2001-'Maha Kumbh Mela' at Prayag (Allahabad) saw the participation of around 1 million people from outside of India .The total gathering exceeded 60 millions. Millions bathe in the holy river at this Hindu festival which witnesses the largest pilgrimage.