Kumbh Mela is probably as old at Hindu Mythology. First written reference of this ultra-mega event is given by Chinese Hieun Tsang where he was invoited by King Harsha in Seventh century AD. After this Kumbh Mela is mentioned occasionally in Hindu records during 13th & 14th Century. Only at the time of Muslim scholars this event is elaborated in 16th Century.
Kumbh Mela is considered to be the largest gathering of mankind on earth. As per Hindu mythology, anyone who takes bath in the holy river during the fair along which the fair is being held gets freedom from the cycle of life & death and attains salvation or “moksha”.
This event is held at 4 places namely Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nasik. It is held after every 12 years at each place. Kumbh Mela held after 12 years is called as Purna Kumbh and after 12th Kumbh Mela at a particular place is called as Maha Kumbh which means at one particular place Maha Kumbh is held is every 144 years. Between 2 Purna Kumbh’s there is an Ardh Kumbh held after 6 years. The latest Ardh Kumbh is being held in Haridwar in Uttarakhand state of Northern India. Haridwar is located on the banks of river Ganges and one of the most important places for Hindus. River Ganges has been a symbol of the devotion and trust for entire India. Haridwar apart from the venuw of Kumbh Mela is also a gateway to most important Hindu Pilgrimage known as Chardham Yatra.
First important bath was held yesterday on the eve of Makar Sankranti. Other important dates are as under
08 Feb: Somwati Amavasya
12 Feb: Basant Panchami
22 Feb: Magh Purnima
07 Mar: Mahashivratri
14 April: Mesh Sankranti (Most Important bathing date)