The Largest Peaceful Congregation of Pilgrims on Earth – Kumbh Mela at Allahabad
Allahabad is the second oldest city in India after Kashi alias Varanasi alias Banares. It is situated in Utter Pradesh state of India. 3 holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the invisible Saraswati confluence here. The meeting point of these three rivers is called Triveni Sangam and is considered very sacred for Hindus. It is believed that taking a bath at Triveni Sangam absolves one of his or her sins.
The Largest Peaceful Congregation of Pilgrims on Earth, Kumbh Mela, is held here, once in every 12 years. UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity has included Kumbh Mela in its list, in 2017.
Kumbh Mela (the festival of the sacred Pitcher) is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth, during which participants bathe or take a dip in a sacred river. Devotees believe that by bathing in the Ganges one is freed from sins liberating her/him from the cycle of birth and death. Millions of people reach the place without any invitation.
More than 120 million people attended the Last Kumbh Mela, held in 2013.
Little bit of History about Allahabad
Allahabad Fort is a 16th century fort constructed by the Great Mughal Emperor Akbar. It is situated close to Triveni Sangamam. Patalpuri Temple is an underground temple inside the Fort. There is a sacred immortal banyan tree inside the fort. There is historic 232 B.C. Ashoka Pillar having a height of 10.6 meters made of sandstone. The stone inscriptions shows Mughal emperor Jahangir’s accession to the throne. Parts of the fort are open to public and the remaining parts are used by the Indian Army.
Khusro Bagh, a walled garden contains the mausoleums of Mughal Emperor Jahangir’s family members.
Ancestral home of the Nehrus, Anand Bhavan is at Allahabad. There were 3 Prime Misters of India from Nehru Family; Namely Jawaharlal Nehru (the first prime mister of India), Indira Gandi (daughter of the first Prime mister and the only Lady Prime Mister of India) and Indira Gandi’s son Rajiv Gandi. There is a museum at Anand Bhavan.
Jawahar Planetarium is another famous Planetarium in India situated at this historic city.
Ashes of Mohandas Gandhi fondly called as Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation, is immersed at Triveni Sangam.
Ardh Kumbhamela 2019
Ardh Kumbhamela 2019 is held at Allahabad alias Prayag, once in six years. (Ardh means half.)
Main ritual is taking the holy dip (bath) at Triveni Sangamam. The dates for holy dips are January 14, 15, 21 February 4, 10, 19 and March 4th; 2019. The most important among these dates is 4th February 2019.
Millions of people attend the Ardh Kumbhamela 2019. The state government has banned all marriages in the district on these dates, to avoid rush.
A Word of Caution
Kumbhamela or Ardh Kumbhamela is special in many ways. People rush to get photographed with Saints. There may be crooks who dress like saints and demand cash for taking photos with them. Please ask permission before you take any photographs or selfies with any third person.
How Do I Go to Allahabad?
Allahabad or Prayag (original name) is well connected by roads, train and flights to other parts of India. “Allahabad Junction” is the nearest railway station. Bamrauli Airport is the airport at Allahabad.
Are you interested in going for the next Kumbhamela? Please leave your comments.