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KUMBH MELA

INTRODUCTION Kumbh is Pot symbolizing various elements in Hindu religion i.e Knowledge, assembly of God, Treasure known and unknown. Mahakumbh means a large pot where knowledge is processed and given to masses for the benefit of huminity. The tradition of Maha Kumbh teaches the way of The best utilization of our knowledge. According to holy books, Due to Loss to Knowledge a crisis like situation occurred at earth and gods were clueless, they approached lord Shiva for solution, lord suggested Churning of Ocean named as ksheer Sagar, God lead by Lord Indra and Demons were lead by noble King Bali they agreed to partner the churning process, Lord Vishnu took the form of Tortoise on which roller can be placed for churning mountain Mandrachal was made roller, King of snakes was made the rope for churning, from which 14 Ratna (valuables) were produced. In the same process of churning of ocean The Pot of Immortality (Amrit Kalas) was also produced. It is believed that those who drink Am rit become immortal.

According to holy books, during the battle between the Gods and Demons (Devasur Sangram) churning of ocean was done, from which 14 Ratan(valuables) were produced. In the same process of churning of ocean The Pot Of Immorality (Amrit Kalas) was also produced. It is believed that those who drink Amrit

becomes immortal. Because of this region Lord Vishnu divided the Amrit only in the Gods. After the division of Amrit between the Gods, the leftover of Amrit was kept The Four safe Places where with Maha Kumbh God Mela is celebrated Indra. are;

Haridwar(UttraKhand/Uttranchal) Nasik(Maharashtra) Ujjain(Madhya Pardesh) Prayag/Allahabad(Uttar Pardesh)

Kumbh Mela

Haridwar Pilgrims gather at the third Shahi Snan in Har ki Pauri to take the Royal Bath in GangaRiver, 2010.

Official name

Kumbh Mela, Maha Kumbha Mela

Observed by

Hindus

Type

Religious

Begins

Makar Sankranti, 14 January

Ends

Maha Shivaratri

2013 date

14 Jan 10 Mar[1]

Observances

Shahi Snan (bathing for purification from sin)

Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. It is the world's largest religious gathering, with 80 million people expected in 2013.[2] It is held every third year at one of the four places by rotation: Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayag), Nasik and Ujjain. Thus the Kumbh Mela is held at each of these four places every twelfth year.Ardh ("Half") Kumbh Mela is held at only two places, Haridwar and Allahabad, every sixth year. The rivers at these four places are: the Ganges(Ganga) at Haridwar, the confluence (Sangam) of the Ganges and the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati at Allahabad, the Godawari at Nasik, and the Shipra at Ujjain. Kumbh means a pitcher and Mela means fair in Hindi. The pilgrimage is held for about one and a half months at each of these four places where it is believed in Hinduism that drops of nectar fell from the Kumbh carried by gods after the sea was churned. The festival is billed as the "worlds largest congregation of religious pilgrims".There is no scientific method of ascertaining the number of pilgrims, and the estimates of the number of pilgrims bathing on the most auspicious day may vary; approximately 80 million people attended on 14 February 2013. Mauni Amavasya traditionally attracted the largest crowds at the mela, held here every 12 years. The current Kumbh Mela was held on 14 January 2013 at Allahabad.The day marked the second and the biggest Shahi Snan (royal bath) of this event, with 13 akharas taking to the Sangam. 10 Feb 2013 was the biggest

bathing day at the ongoing Maha Kumbh Mela and probably the largest human gathering on a single day. Over 30 million devotees and ascetics took holy dip on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya.[4] History The first written evidence of the Kumbha Mela can be found in the accounts of Chinese monk Xuanzang (formerly romanised as Hsuan Tsang) who visited India in 629645 CE, during the reign of King Harshavardhana.[5][6] However, similar observances date back many centuries, where the river festivals first started getting organised. According to medieval Hindu theology, its origin is found in one of the most popular medieval puranas, the Bhagavata Purana. The Samudra

manthan episode (Churning of the ocean of milk), is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, theMahabharata, and the Ramayana. The account goes that the Devas had lost their strength by the curse of Durvs Muni, and to regain it, they approached Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva. They directed all the demigods to Lord Vishnu[8] (full story on kumbh mela) and after praying to Lord Vishnu, he instructed them to churn the ocean of milk Ksheera Sagara (primordial ocean of milk) to receive amrita (the nectar of immortality). This required them to make a temporary agreement with their arch enemies, the Asuras, to work together with a promise of sharing the wealth equally

thereafter.[9] However, when the Kumbha (urn) containing the amrita appeared, a fight ensued. For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the Devas and Asuras fought in the sky for the pot of amrita. It is believed that during the battle, Lord Vishnu (incarnated as Mohini-Mrti) flew away with the Kumbha of elixir spilling drops of amrita at four places: Allahabad (Prayag), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. Places Kumbh Mela takes place every twelve years at one of four

places: Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. The Mela in its different forms alternates between Prayag, Nashik, Ujjain and Haridwar every third year. The Ardh (half) Kumbh Mela is celebrated every six years at only two places, Haridwar and Prayag.

Kumbha Mela: Held at all four places. Ardha Kumbha Mela: Held at Haridwar and Prayag, every 6 years. Purna Kumbha Mela: Held only at Prayag every 12 years. Maha Kumbha Mela: Held only at Prayag, every 144 years.

Prayag

The Triveni Sangam, or the intersection ofYamuna River and Ganges River and the mythicalSarasvati River, where devotees perform rituals. Triveni Sangam, the meeting place, of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati.[18] Haridwar On the bank of river Ganga. Nashik There are 14 Akhadas, of which 11 belong to the Shaiv sect (of the 11 Shaiv Akhadas, oneBhudad Akhadais defunct, while 10 are active) and 3 to the Vaishnav sect. The Shaiv Akhadas take a holy dip at Kushavart in Trimbakeshwar, about 30 km from Nashik. The Vaishnav Akhadas perform rituals at Ramkund in

Godavari and stay at Tapovan. The Vaishnav Akhadas have Khalsas (religious groups headed by Mahants attached with Akhadas) attached with them. Both Shaiv and Vaishnav Sadhus used to take the holy dip in Trimbakeshwar, until 1838, when a clash between them led to bloodshed and the Peshwa ruler requested Shaiv sadhus to perform rituals at Trimbakeshwar and Vaishnavs to move downstream to Ramkund in Nashik. Ujjain On the bank of river Shipra. Venues

Year

Prayag

Nashik

Ujjain

Haridwar

1983

Ardh Kumbh

1989

Purna Kumbh

1991

Kumbh

1992

Kumbh

Ardh Kumbh

Year

Prayag

Nashik

Ujjain

Haridwar

1995

Ardh Kumbh

1998

Kumbh

2001

Purna[21] Kumbh

2003

Kumbh

2004

Sihasth

Ardh Kumbh

2007

Ardh Kumbh

2010

Kumbh

2013

Maha[22] Kumbh

2015

Kumbh

Year

Prayag

Nashik

Ujjain

Haridwar

2016

Sihasth

Ardh Kumbh

2019

Ardh Kumbh

2022

Kumbh

Upcoming Kumbh Mela festivals:

The next Kumbh Mela will be held at Nashik on the bank of the river Godavari in 2015 (15 August to 13 September). The Kumbh at Ujjain is also called "Simhastha"(as Guru will be in Singh Rashi).[23]

Ujjain Purna Kumbh Mela 2016

Timing

Planetary positions during 2013 Kumbh Mela at Allahabad (Prayag) Kumbh Mela is celebrated at different locations depending on the position of the planet of Bhaspati (Jupiter) and the sun. When Jupiter and the sun are in the zodiac sign Leo (Simha Rashi) it is held in Trimbakeshwar, Nashik; when the sun is in Aquarius (Kumbh Rashi) it is celebrated at Haridwar; when Jupiter is in Taurus (Vrishabha Rashi ) and the sun is in Capricorn (Makar Rashi) Kumbha Mela is celebrated at Prayag; and Jupiter and the sun are in Scorpio (Vrishchik Rashi) the Mela is celebrated at Ujjain.[24][25] Each site's celebration dates are calculated in advance according to a special combination of zodiacal positions of Sun, Moon, and Jupiter.[26] Attendance

Kumbh Mela at Prayag, 2001

Maha Kumbh 2013 According to The Imperial Gazetteer of India, an outbreak of cholera occurred at the 1892 Mela at Haridwar leading to the rapid improvement of arrangements by the authorities and to the formation of Haridwar Improvement Society. In 1903 about 400,000 people are recorded as attending the fair.[25] During the 1954 Kumbh Mela stampede at Prayag, around 500 people were killed, and scores were injured. Ten million people gathered at Haridwar for the Kumbh on 14 April 1998.[5] In 2001, more than 40 million gathered on the busiest of its 55 days.[27] According to the Mela Administration's estimates, around 70 million people participated in the 45-day Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag in 2007.[28]

The last "Kumbh Mela" held in 2001 in Prayag was estimated by the authorities to have attracted between 30 and 70 million people.[29][30][31] The current Maha Kumbh Mela began on 14 January 2013 at Prayag.[32] According to expectations more than 100 million people will attend the 2013 Kumbha mela. The ritual

Naga sadhu procession 1998 Kumbh Mela The major event of the festival is ritual bathing at the banks of the river in whichever town Kumbh Mela being

held:Ganga in Haridwar,Godavari in Nasik, Kshipra in Ujjain and Sangam (conflu ence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati) in Allahabad (Prayag. Nasik has registered maximum visitors to 75 million. Other activities include religious

discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men and women and the poor, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardised. Kumbh Mela is the most sacred of all the pilgrimages.[citation
needed]

Thousands of

holy men and women attend, and the auspiciousness of the festival is in part attributable to this. The sadhus are seen clad in saffron sheets with Vibhuti ashes dabbed on their skin as per the requirements of ancient traditions. Some, called naga sanyasis, may not wear any clothes even in severe winter.[citation needed] After visiting the Kumbh Mela of 1895, Mark Twain wrote: It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvelous to our kind of people, the cold whites.[35]

The order of entering the water is fixed, with the Juna,the Niranjani and Mahanirvani akharas proceeding. Most significant days during the Kumbh Mela Bhishma Ekadasi Snan

On this day, Bhishma Pithamaha, the oldest, wisest, most powerful and most righteous person belonging to the Kuru dynasty (approx. over 5000 years ago), narrated the greatness of Lord Krishna through Sri Vishnu Sahasranama to Yudhishtira, the oldest brother of Pandavas.[37]

Recent Kumbha Melas 1894 According to Paramahansa Yogananda in his work the Autobiography of a Yogi, it was during the Kumbha Mela in January 1894 at Prayag that his Guru Sri Yukteswar met Mahavatar Babaji for the first time. 2003 When the Kumbha Mela was held in Nashik, India, from 27 July to 7 September 2003, 39 pilgrims (28 women and 11 men) were trampled to death and 57 were injured. Devotees had gathered on the banks of the Godavari river for the maha snaan or holy bath. Over 30,000 pilgrims were being held back by barricades in a narrow street leading to the Ramkund, a holy spot, so the sadhuscould take the first

ceremonial bath. Reportedly, a sadhu threw some silver coins into the crowd and the subsequent scramble led to the stampede. 2007 More than 70 million people visited Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag. 2010 Haridwar hosted the Purna Kumbha mela from Makar Sankranti (14 January 2010) to Shakh Purnima Snan (28 April 2010). Millions of Hindu pilgrims attended the mela. On 14 April 2010, alone approximately 10 million people bathed in the Ganges river. According to officials by mid April about 40 million people had bathed since 14 January 2010. Hundreds of foreigners joined Indian pilgrims in the festival which is thought to be the largest religious gathering in the world. To accommodate the large number of pilgrims Indian Railways ran special trains. At least 5 people died in a stampede after clashes between holy men and devotees. Indian Space Research Organisation took satellite pictures of the crowds with the hope of improving the conduct of the festival in the future. 2013 The Maha Kumbha Mela is held at Allahabad (Prayag) (27 January to 10 March 2013). An estimated 30 million people visited the Maha Kumbh Mela on 10 February 2013 and an estimated 100 million are expected to visit the place during

the festival spread over 55 days. On 10 February 2013 a stampede at the railway station killed 36 and injured at least 39.In the vast crowds some elderly people, predominantly women, are abandoned by their families. Here are the details of most auspicious days (bathing dates) in year 2013 during Maha Kumbh Festival (mela).

14 January 2013 (Monday) Makar Sankranti 27 January 2013 (Sunday) Paush Purnima 6 February 2013 (Wednesday) Ekadashi Snan 10 February 2013 (Sunday) Mauni Amavasya Snan (Main Bathing Day) 15 February 2013 (Friday) Vasant Panchami Snan 17 February 2013 (Sunday) Rath Saptami Snan 21 February 2013 (Thursday) Bhisma Ekadashi Snan 25 February 2013 (Monday) Maghi Purnima Snan 10 March 2013 (Sunday) Mahashivratri

Kumbha Mela in media Amrita Kumbher Sandhane, a 1982 Bengali feature film directed by Dilip Roy, documents the Kumbh Mela. Kumbha Mela has been theme for many a documentaries, including "Kumbh Mela: The Greatest Show on Earth" (2001) directed by Graham Day,[51] On 24 September, The Hindu reported the great faith

in god displayed in Kumbh Mela at Nasik which had more than 70 million visitors in 2003 Kumbh Mela. (2004), by Maurizio Benazzo and Nick Day,[52][53] Kumbh Mela: Songs of the River (2004), by Nadeem Uddin,[54] and Invocation, Kumbha Mela (2008). On 18 April 2010, a popular American morning show The CBS Sunday Morning gave an extensive coverage on Haridwar's Kumbh Mela "The Largest Pilgrimage on Earth". Calling it "one of the most extraordinary displays of faith on Earth, a spectacular journey drawing tens of millions of people". Short Cut to Nirvana: Kumbh Mela is a 2004 documentary film was set in the 2001 Maha Kumbh Mela at Allahabad. This film is directed by Nick Day and produced by "Maurizio Benazzo". On 28 April 2010, BBC reported an audio and a video report on Kumbh Mela, titled "Kumbh Mela 'greatest show on earth'. On 30 September 2010, the Kumbh Mela featured in the second episode of the Sky One TV series "An Idiot Abroad" with Karl Pilkington visiting the festival. "Amrit Nectar of Immortality" (2012) is a documentary which was shot at the Kumbh Mela 2010 in Haridwar, this film is directed by Jonas Scheu and Philipp Eyer. in 2013

Allahabad: Kumbh Mela 2013, considered to be the biggest congregation of Pilgrims and devotees across the world, yet it turned out also to be a big congregation of Technology. State government took this opportunity to showcase its achievements. On 10 Feb 2013, Media reported that 36 people died in a stampede at the Allahabad railway station, the union and state governments have denied that organizational lapses may have contributed to the tragedy; they say the massive rush of passengers, returning from a dip in the waters of the Ganga and Yamuna, at the Maha Kumbh, the world's largest religious festival. Kumbh Mela is the largest concentration of religious gathering in the world. Held once in 12 years this festival is a must visit during a trip to India. If you go by the Hindu mythologies, then this is the only time and place in the world where you can unburden your sins and achieve 'Nirvana' from the vicious cycle of birth and re birth. Take dips in the holy water of Ganges that is said to wash away all the sins of a person. Light a Diya and make a wish, they do come true! To live among the Sadhus, who have dedicated their entire lives in meditation and fulfilling spiritual deeds is indeed a unique experience of life. In Haridwar there

are many such Ashrams where tourists can stay to enjoy the life of a saint besides indulging into various Yoga and Meditation regimes. Taking dips three times in a day, attending yoga classes, listening to the divine lectures and participating in the cultural programmes are just a few of the activities that one can enjoy during the famous Kumbh Mela in Haridwar. Travel to Haridwar and experience the inexperienced.

Kumbh Mela is not just a mere festivity like Diwali and Holi, but holds lot of importance for people in India. People look up to Kumbh Mela with highest regard, as this event gives them a golden opportunity to liberate themselves from the miseries and sufferings of life. It enables them to take a holy dip in the sacred water and wash away all the sins they have committed in the past. People come from different parts of the country to be a part of this sacred ceremony. It is believed that taking a holy dip in water paves way for attainment of Moksha. Rig Veda has a mention about the significance of convergence of river Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati at Prayag or Sangam. References can be found about the significance of this ritual in Varaha Purana and Matsya Purana as well. There is a belief that the ashram of the learned Bharadvaja, where Lord Ram, Laxman and Sita lived at the time of their exile, was situated at

Sangam. It is said that a number of saints including the great Shankaracharya and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu visited Sangam and observed the Kumbh Mela. The great Indian epics such the Ramayana and Mahabharata have mentioned that a yagna was conducted by Lord Brahma at Sangam.

Sacred Bath in Kumbh Mela Bathing in the holy river on the auspicious occasion of Kumbh Mela is the most important activity for millions of people in India. A large tented city is erected and pilgrims stay at tents owned by Pandas (religious and spiritual guides) and at various ashrams. Others will just camp on the ground or turn up for the actual bathing day. Some of these bathing days are designated "royal," and it is on these days that the naga sadhus (naked mendicants) parade and bathe. On other days there will still be people bathing and other events and random processions.

Rituals Performed at the Kumbh Mela

The main ritual performed at that Kumbh Mela is the ritual bath. Hindus believe that submerging themselves in the sacred waters on the most auspicious day of the new moon will absolve them and their ancestors of sin, thus ending the cycle of rebirth. Pilgrims start lining up to bathe from around 3 a.m. on this day. As the sun comes up, the different groups of sadhus move in procession towards the river to bathe. The Nagas usually lead, while each group tries to outdo the others with more grandeur and fanfare. The moment is magical, and everyone is absorbed in it. After bathing, the pilgrims wear fresh clothes and proceed to worship by the river bank. They then walk around listening to discourses from the various sadhus.

Once upon a time, wife of saint Kardan who was mother of Garudji got cursed (sharapit) by her second wife (sautan) when she lost to her. To get free from her curse (sharap) she needed the drink of immortality (Amrit). Garudji went to God Indra (king of all Gods) for the pot of immortality (Amrit). During the process of acquiring Amrit for her mother, he had a battle with Indra (king of all Gods). During the time of battle where ever the Amrit Kalas (pot of immortality) was placed, Maha Kumbh is organized and celebrated there.

Another believes is, during the churning of ocean when the pot of immortality (Amrit Kalas) was produced, Demons escaped way with the pot of immortality (Amrit Kalas). While they were escaping with pot of immortality (Amrit Kalas), few drops of Amrit fell on four different places. At these four places, where the drop of Amrit (immortality) fell Kumbh is organized and celebrated there.

Origin of Kumbhmela Held every 4th years, the Kumbh Mela is one of the biggest events for the Indian Hindu community. The exact origin of the Kumbh Mela is very hard to pinpoint. The fair is a primitive one and the reason it is held can be traced back to the ancient episode of 'Sagar Manthan' .Kumbh Mela derives its name from the immortal - Pot of Nectar - described in ancient Vedic scriptures known as the Puranas. Kumbha in Sanskrit language means 'pot or pitcher'. Mela means 'festival'. Thus Kumbh Mela literally means festival of the pot.

History of Kumbhmela It is not exactly known since when did people begin to hold Kumbh Mela; it is widely known how this spectacle of faith has attracted the curiosity of foreigners across the world. The famous Chinese traveler Hiuen-Tsang was probably the first person to mention Kumbh Mela in his diary. In the 8th century, the great Indian saint Shankara popularized the Kumbh Mela among the common people. With each passing year the fair began to be attended by more and more people.

By 1977, the number of pilgrims attending Kumbh Mela had grown to a record 15 million! By 1989, the attendance was approximately 29 million!! Today, more than 60 million people is said to attend the Maha Kumbh Mela, making it the largest gathering anywhere in the world. Maha Kumbh Mela - occurring every 144 years - only in Allahabad. Purna Kumbh Mela - after every 12 years - last one took place in January 2001 in Allahabad. Ardh Kumbh - 6th year after Kumbh Mela. Kumbh Mela - every 3rd years, rotating through Prayag, Nasik, Haridwar and Ujjain. Magh Mela - Annual, held every year except years of Kumbh Mela and Ardh Kumbh Mela Held in Magh (Jan-Feb); hence the name. Only in Allahabad.

Recent Kumbhmelas In 2001,Kumbh Mela was held in Allahabad. It is estimated that about 60 million people took a bath in the river Ganges. The 2003Kumbh Mela was held in Nasik, India from 27th July to 7th September. In 2007 more than 30 million people visited Ardha Kumbh Mela at Prayag in allahabad. In 2010 Kumbh Mela was held in Haridwar. Millions of Hindu pilgrims attended the Mela.

Kumbh Melas in Future Years Allahabad (Prayag) Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 (January 27th to February 25th) . Nasik Maha Kumbh Mela 2015 (August 15th to September 13th). Ujjain Maha Kumbh Mela 2016 (April 22nd to may 21st).

The Site of the Observance Rotating Between Four Pilgrimages Places on Four Sacred Rivers Haridwar (Uttarakhand) on the Ganges River. Prayag,Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna. Nasik (Maharashtra) on the Godavari River. Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh) on the Shipra River.

Timings: It is celebrated at different locations depending on the position of the planet of Brashpati (Jupiter), the sun and the moon.

Positions of the Planets and celebrated location

Positions of the Planets and celebrated location

CITY Haridwar Prayag (Allahabad) Nasik Ujjain

Jupiter Aquarius Taurus Leo Leo

Sun Aries Capricorn Cancer Aries

Moon Sagittarius Capricorn Cancer Aries

Allahabad is located at 2527'N 8150'E25.45N 81.84E in the southern part of the Uttar Pradesh at an elevation of 98 meters (322 ft) and stands at the confluence of two, the Ganges and Yamuna.

Allahabad or City of God in Persian, also known as Prayag is a city in the North Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Allahabad is one of the fastest growing cities in India at present. It is located 238 kilometers south of state capital Lucknow. The ancient

name of the city is Prayag and is believed to be the spot where Brahma offered his first sacrifice after creating the world. It is one of four sites of the mass Hindu pilgrimage Kumbh Mela. It has a position of importance in Hindu scriptures for it is situated at Triveni Sangam, the confluence of the holy rivers Ganges and Yamuna, and the ancient Saraswati River.

In 2013 from 27th January to 25th February the Purna Kumbh Mela will be going held in Allahabad which occurs after every 12th years.

Allahabad Kumbhmela, 2007

The Spectacle

The Prayag (Allahabad) Kumbh Mela is the largest and holiest of all melas and is believed to be the most auspicious. On important bathing dates, lakhs of pilgrims take bath on the banks of the holy Sangam. The Purna (complete) Kumbh or Maha Kumbh, the biggest and the most auspicious fair, which falls once every 12 years, is always held in Allahabad. Ardha Kumbh Mela is held every 6th year and the

Magh Mela is the annual version of the Kumbh. The main bathing days are known as 'Shahi Snans' or 'Royal Bathing Days'. Sadhus at Allahabad Kumbhmela, 2007

The most recent Kumbh Mela was in 2001 in Allahabad and millions of pilgrims took a holy dip in Sangam on the auspicious the Mauni Amavasya on the 24th January 2001. The main bathing days for the Kumbh Mela are: Makar Sankranti, Paush Purnima, Mauni Amavasya, Basant Panchmi, Maghi Poornima and Maha Shivratri

Main Bathing Date for 2013 Allahabad Kumbhmela: 10th February 2013 Auspicious bathing at Allahabad Kumbhmela, 2007 Dates Auspicious Bathing

Kumbmela 2013 Itineraries

Allahabad tent detail 2013

How to Reach Allahabad

By Air: Allahabad is served by the Allahabad Airport (Bamrauli Air Force Base) and is linked to Delhi and Kolkata by JetLite and Air India Regional. Other larger airports in the vicinity are at Varanasi (Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport 125 km) and Lucknow (Amausi International Airport 238 km).

Major Airlines between Delhi and Allahabad: Air India Major Airlines between Delhi and Varanasi: Air India AI-406 Jet Airways 9W-723 Spice jet SG-114 Jet Konnect 9W-2637

Major Airlines between Mumbai and Varanasi: Air India AI-695 By Rail: Allahabad is the headquarters of the North Central Railway Zone, and is well connected by trains with all major cities in India. The major trains between Delhi to Allahabad are: Dibrugarh Rajdhani 2424=12424 Kolkata Rajdhani 2302=12302 Patna Rajdhani 2310=12310 New Delhi Allahabad Duronto 2276=12276 Poorva Express 2304=12304 Shiv Ganga Express 2560=12560 The major trains between Mumbai to Allahabad are: Rajendranagar Janata Express 3202=13202 Kolkata Mail 2322=12322

Pawan Express 1061=11061 Godaan Express 1055=11055

The major train between Chennai to Allahabad is: SanghMitra Express 2295=12295 The major train between Bangalore to Allahabad is: SanghMitra Express 2295=12295 Kolkata Rajdhani Express 2301=12301 Howrah Jodhpur Express 2307=12307 The major trains between Guwahati to Allahabad are: Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express 2423=12423 Poorvottar Sampark Kranti Express 2501=12501 By Road: NH2 runs through the middle of the city. NH96 connects to NH28 at Faizabad. Another is NH27 which starts from Allahabad and ends at Mangawan in Madhya

Pradesh connecting to NH7. There are other state highways that link Allahabad to all other parts of the country. Other Attractions to visit in Allahabad Sangam: It's the place where the confluence of three holy rivers-Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati takes place. Center of attraction for hundreds and thousands of religious travelers Allahabad Fort: Built by Akbar in AD 1583, this fort exhibits fine depictions of art, design, architecture, and craftsmanship of the fort Patalpuri Temple and Akshaya Vat: Located inside the Allahabad Fort, this is actually an underground temple dedicated to Lord Rama. Anand Bhawan: the ancestral home of the Nehru's, the Anand Bhawan now becomes one of the excellent museums of India. Allahabad Museum: the Allahabad Museum preserves the paintings of Nicholas Roerich, terracotta figurines, Rajasthani miniatures, coins and stone sculptures from the 2nd century BC till date. Weekend Excursions to nearby places like Jhusi, Kaushambi, Bhita, Shringverpur, Kara, Upardaha Lake and the Tons River Aqueduct.

Fast facts about Allahabad:

Mahamaham From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Mahamaham is a Hindu festival celebrated every 12 years in the Mahamaham tank located in the South Indian town of Kumbakonam in Tamil Nadu, India. Hindus consider taking a holy dip at the Mahamaham tank on the day of Mahamaham as sacred. The last Mahamaham was celebrated on March 6, 2004, with people from various places taking the holy dip in the Mahamaham tank.

The Festival The Masimaham is an annual event that occurs in the Tamil

month of Masi (FebruaryMarch) in the star of Magam in kumbakanom which is a very beautiful and ancient and holy place. Once in twelve years, when the planet Guru (Jupiter) enters Simha (Leo) sign a larger festival is celebrated at Mahamaham tank.[1] Vast crowds gather at Kumbakonam to have a dip in the tank, along with saints and philosophers. All the rivers of India are believed to meet at the tank on this day and a purificatory bath at this tank on this day is considered equal to the combined dips in all the holy rivers of India[1] Festival deities from all the temples in Kumbakonam arrive at the tank and at noon, all the deities bathe along with the devotees - it is called "Theerthavari".[2] The purificatory bath is believed to remove sins and after the dip, pilgrims offer charitable gifts in the hope of being rewarded in the current life and subsequent lives.[2] The temple cars of major temples in Kumbakonam come around the city on the festival night. During the Mahamaham of 1992, the number of devotees reached 1 million.[2]

View of the Mahamaham tank and the annual Masimaham festival People are washing their sins on the holy rivers like Ganges, Yamuna, Sarasvati River, Sarayu, Godavari River, Mahanadi River, Narmada River, Pavoshnl

and Kaveri River. These rivers wanted to get rid of their sins and approached Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma advised these rivers if you meet together and take bath in Mahamaham would wash off all the sins. Hence, during the time of Mahamaham festival, it is also believed that taking bath in the holy stream of water from the famous rivers like Ganges, Yamuna, Sarasvati River, Sarayu, Godavari River, Mahanadi River,Narmada River, Pavoshnl and Kaveri River, which are mixed together in Mahamaham tank, would get rid of sins according to Hindu religion. Mahamaham bathing festival is concentrated on a single day, the concourse of pilgrims being all the more. During this festival, thousands of Hindu devotees come to Kumbakonam, and take bath in a tank named Mahamaham tank, generally followed or preceded by a dip in the kaveri river at Kumbakonam. The tank has 20 holy wells. These wells are named after 20 holy rivers flowing across India. People get themselves drained in these wells. These wells are also called as "Theertham" (Holy water).

The Tank

File picture of yearly Masimaham festival The Tank is located in the heart of Kumbakonam town. It covers an area of 6.2 acres and is trapezoidal in shape. The tank is surrounded by 16 small Mandapams (shrines)[3] and has 21 wells inside the tank. The names of the wells carry the name of Hindu god Shiva or that of Rivers of India.[2] Govinda Dikshitar, the chieftain of Ragunatha Nayak of Thanjavur, constructed the sixteen Mandapams and stone steps around this tank.[4] Names of 20 Theertham (wells) 1.Vayu Theertham 2.Ganga Theertham 3.Bramma Theertham 4.Yamuna Theertham 5.Kubera Theertham 6.Godavari Theertham 7.Eshana Theertham 8.Narmada Theertham 9.Saraswathi Theertham 10.Indira Theertham 11.Agni

Theertham 12.Cauvery Theertham 13.Yama Theertham 14.Kumari Theertham 15.Niruthi Theertham 16.Bayoshni Theertham 17.Deva Theertham 18.Varunai Theertham 19.Sarayu Theertham 20.Kanya Theertham The Mahamaham Tank has four streets alongs its four banks. It is constructed with steps on the sides for people to easily access the tank and take dips. There are 16 Mandapas ( Gopuram Towers) around the corners and sides of the tank.These towers are considered to be forms of lord Shiva ( The HinduGod) Names of the Gopuram Tower 1.Brammatheertheshwarar 4.Virushabeshwarar 2.Mukundeshwarar 6.Koneshwarar 3.Dhaneshwarar 7.Bhakthikeshwarar

5.Baaneshwarar

8.Bhairaveshwarar 9.Agasthyeshwarar 10.Vyaneshwarar 11.Umaibakeshwarar 12.Nairutheeshwarar 13.Brammeshwarar 14.Gangatheshwarar

15.Mukthatheertheshwarar 16.Shethrabaleshwarar Legend It is believed that the God of Creation, Brahma will go for a sleep once in a while and it will result in the destruction of all the living beings in the earth. The Oceans will raise, flood the cities and villages, remains so for years and kills all the living beings in the world. This is called Brahma pralayam (Flood of Brahma). In order to sustain life in earth, Lord [Shiva] instructs the educated to take sample of seeds of

living organisms in a pot (Kumbham) filled with elixir and keep it atop Himalayas ( now, Mt. Everest). When the Brahma pralayam started, it killed all living creatures in the earth, even the ones who filled the pot. The flood water level rose so high that it got the pot kept in Mt. Everest floating for years. Eventually when all the excess water dried up, the pot settled in a place now called Kumbakonam. Then Shiva took the form of a Hunter and split opened the pot with his arrow. The seeds and elixir poured out of into the Mahamaham tank. Then, life on earth started flourishing again. Hence the God Shiva in here is called as Kumbehswarar. Mahamaham day worship

A file picture of Mahamham festival On the Mahamaham day people start with praying these Siva temples. This is continued by dips in the 20 wells, visit to Kumbeswarar Temple, dip in the holy tank and finally in Kaveri river to complete the process.

On the occasion of the festival, metal idols of the deities of the main temples of Kumbakonam is carried on palanquins or chariots and taken around the different streets of the town. There is an oft quoted popular saying

in Sanskrit noting Kumbakonam as even as more sacred than Varanasi (Kasi). A sin committed at some ordinary place is washed off by a visit to a holy place, sin done in a sacred spot is washed off by going on a pilgrimage to Varanasi(Kasi). If one dares to commit a sin in that sacred city too, that sin is wiped off at Kumbakonam and any sinful act done at Kumbakonam is atoned for there itself. Allahabad Kumbh Mela 2013 Dates

The highlight feature of the Kumbh Mela is the bathing ceremony (snan). Millions of people travel across the globe to take a dip inthe Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati during the festival as it is believed by doing so one gets free from the baggage of sins committed in his lifetime and also attains salvation which is freedom from the cycle of birth and death. The Vedic Scriptures account for

several other reasons to take bath in Holy Rivers like Ganges, Yamuna, Godawari and Narmada. The bathing ceremony is the most auspicious activity in this festival apart from the enlightenment one receives through spiritual discussions with the saints. In Vedic culture, every river is personified as a deity and the water stream is interpreted as the material manifestation of that personality. Rivers are deified as mothers as they are a source for human existence. River Ganga is one of the most special rivers as it is believed to come directly from the ocean of milk by washing the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. Bathing in the holy waters of Ganga is believed to be most auspicious at the time of Kumbh Mela. Allahabad. Bathing at the time of Maha Kumbh also known as Shahi snan or Royal Bathing Days. After 12 long years the grand event is again at the doorstep for people to grab the opportunity to witness the magnificent spectacle at Allahabad, the place of confluence of the three holy rivers, in January, 2013. The details about the most auspicious days during the festival on which devotees will take the holy dip in the waters of Ganges, Yamuna and the lost Saraswati are enlisted below:

Shahi Snan starts at 6:00 Am Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 Bathing (Shahi Snan) Dates Bathing Dates Day Occasion Makar Sankarnti Paush Purnima Remark First Shahi Snan -

14th January 2013 Sunday 27th January 2013 Sunday

6th February 2013 Wednesday Ekadashi Snan

10th February 2013 Sunday

Mauni Amavasya Snan Main Bathing Day (Dark moon)

15th February 2013 Friday

Basant Panchami Snan Fifth day of the new moon

17th February 2013 Sunday

Rath Saptami Snan

18th February 2013 Monday

Bhisma Ashtami Snan Eigth day of the new moon

25th February 2013 Monday

Maghi Purnima Snan

10th March 2013

Sunday

Shivaratri Snan