Kumbh in History

Earliest Accounts

According to some scholars, the earliest surviving historical account of the Kumbh Mela, which took place in present-day Prayag, dates back to 644 CE, when then Chinese traveller Hieun Tsang described a river side festival organized by the emperor Shiladitya. The Magh Mela of Prayagraj is probably the oldest among all Kumbh melas, and finds references even in the Puranas.

Akhara Accounts

The belief endorsed by the Akharas is that Adi Shankaracharya started the Kumbh Mela at Prayag in the 8th century CE, to facilitate a congregation of holy men from different regions.

Mughal Alamanac

The Khulasat-ut-Tawarikh, compiled in 1695 CE lists the following melas: An annual mela and a Kumbh Mela every 12 years at Haridwar, a mela held at Triyambak every 12 years, and an annual mela held at Prayag in Magh.

haridwar
triyambak
prayag

Missionary Accounts

The accounts of the baptist missionary John Chamberlain from the 1824 Kumbh Mela, state that a large number of visitors came there for trade, and the fair was attended by “multitudes of every religious order”, including a large number of Sikhs.

kumbh sadhus img

British Accounts

The first British reference to the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad occurs in an 1868 report, which mentions the need for increased pilgrimage and sanitation controls at the “Coomb fair” to be held in January 1870.

Eternal

An inclusive festival

British civil servant Robert Montgomery Martin mentions about the 1858 Kumbh that visitors at the fair included people from a number of races and religions. Besides priests, soldiers, and religious mendicants, the fair was attended by several merchants, including horse traders from Bukhara, Kabul, Turkistan,  Arabia and Persia. Several Hindu rajas, Sikh rulers and Muslim Nawabs visited the fair. A few Christian missionaries also preached at the Mela.

Sun-Rise)img
Front-face)img
Kumbh Sky-View)img
Close-Up)img
Bank Of Ganga)img
Scale

Experience the magnificence of Kumbh

How big is it?
Story of Kumbh

Learn the mythology behind it

Why does it happen?
History

How old is the tradition?

Explore Kumbh in History
Mythology

Learn more about the Hindu Mythology

Mythological Journey
Water

Learn about the Holy Rivers

Explore Sangam Rivers
The people

What are Akharas?

Meet The Sadhus