Kumbh Mela: Pictures and Photographs
Kumbh(Pot) Mela(Fair) is that pilgrimage occurs four times every twelve years, once at each of the four locations in India. Attended by millions of people, making it the largest pilgrimage gathering around the world.
When Jupiter (Guru) and Sun are in zodiac sign Leo(Simha Rashi) it is celebrated in Trimbakeshwar, Nashik.
A ritual bath at a predetermined time and place is the major event of this festival. Thousands of holy men/women (monks, saints, sadhus) grace the occasion by their presence. A holy dip in the river is considered to wash away all your past sins. Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men/women and the poor, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardized.
The observance of Kumbha Mela is based upon the following story : thousands of years ago, perhaps in the Vedic period, gods and demons made a temporary agreement to work together in obtaining amrita (the nectar of immortality) from the Milky Ocean, and to share this equally. However, when the Kumbha (pot) containing the amrita appeared, the demons ran away with the pot and were chased by the gods. For twelve days and twelve nights (equivalent to twelve human years) the gods and demons fought in the sky for the possession of this pot of amrita. It is said that during the battle, drops of amrita fell on to four places : Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. Thus, Kumbha mela is observed at these four locations where the nectar fell.
The Four locations are
* Prayag (near the city of Allahabad, in the state of Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of three rivers Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and Saraswati
* Haridwar (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) where the river Ganga enters the plains from Himalayas
*Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), on the banks of Ksipra river
* Nasik (in Maharashtra) on the banks of Godavari river.