KUMBH – A SPECTACLE OF FAITH
We have always heard of souls getting separated and individuals getting lost at the congregation of Ganga Yamuna and the mystical Saraswati in the gathering of Kumbh, this is what Kumbh fare reminds us of isn’t it?
The large chunk of the burgeoning Indian population that it attracts is itself an attractive element of the fare but no doubt that any religious pilgrimage holding significance in Vedas and Puranas does so for that matter. So what makes Kumbh so special, well it’s the fact it is not just a special day but is spread over a span of almost 45 days and witnesses as many as 5 crore people on a single day in an area smaller than 40 square kilometers. This makes it a grand event of an unimaginable scale.
The fact that the festival site is always on the banks of specific rivers makes it unique this is not just because of it a festival of symbolic cleansing of sins in the holy water but these four banks namely Ganga at Haridwar, the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mystical Saraswati at Prayagraj, Godawri at Nasik and Shipra at Ujjain are considered to be the four sacred locations at which the drops of Nectar churned out of “Samudra Manthan” fell. As the mythical tale of Samudra Manthan has it “ After the nectar (Amrit) was churned out by the gods, the asuras got
skeptical of the devtas sharing it with them and hence started chasing them to snatch the Amrit. The asuras chased the devtas for twelve days and it was during this time that the nectar fell on earth and the locations where Kumbh takes place is considered to be the same four locations.”
In fact, the name KUMBH means urn which is in reference to the jar which held the nectar and from which the Amrit is supposed to have fallen on the ground. Not just this the four royal baths of Kumbh are considered to be the days on which the nectar fell on earth, and the dates are calculated on the basis of unique astrological alignment of the sun the moon and Jupiter. Given the number of pilgrims visiting the area, the management and efficient organization of logistics is the biggest concern and matter of study. And the fact that it provides the amazing spectacle of different realms of the same life makes it intangible cultural heritage of humanity. At Kumbh, one can witness entire Indian culture harboring an age-old tradition. Kumbh is like a small village encompassing representatives of various segments of the most diverse Country, individuals representing fragments of World and also the vagabonds, gypsies, wayfarers the mystics and the nagas.
“It is a rainbow immersed in color of devotion
A temple smeared in faith of religiousness
A village of diverse inhabitants wearing a saffron scarf
A pilgrimage of complex rituals performed with utmost simplicity
A city of smoke of sins vanishing in the thin air
A bonfire of blazing flame shaping ones character
A sea holding millions of prayers in its stillness
A valley of flowers with fragrance of ashes
It is the silence that one hears only in chaos
A musical world of bells, hymns and chirping of Siberian birds
A nascent whisper of different mother tongues
An air of salvation and liberation filling the lungs”
By praying alone amidst the many both hands joined eyes closed body half dipped in the water one connects with one’s soul, and every lone soul with millions of others walking by the side rejoins the world, such as the beauty of
Kumbh which makes it a festival worth celebrating and a show worth witnessing.
While every soul at Kumbh seeks for a reunion with the almighty you will feel his divine presence lingering in the might of the sacred acts of masses.