Looking to achieve ‘Nirvana’, ‘Moksha’ or salvation following Hindu strictures? Take part in the spiritual paths of the Kumbh festivities being celebrated at Prayag or ancient Allahabad in North India. Prayag is the holy site that marks the confluence of the paranormal river, Saraswati (not physically visible but believed to flow within the recesses of the world or to exist on the spiritual plane) – joining the 2 most ancient and revered Indian rivers – The Ganges and therefore The Yamuna.
This ‘Sangam’ or the confluence of the holy rivers is taken into account sacred. The Hindu belief is to scatter or immerse one’s cremated ashes at the ‘Sangam’ to achieve ‘Nirvana’ or salvation- Freedom from the infinite cycle of life and death. The Maha Kumbh Mela or the good festival of the ethereal urn symbolizes the attainment of this state of ‘Nirvana’ or ‘Moksha’.
The Kumbh Mela, one among the foremost important of Hindu spiritual gatherings takes place every three years in rotation between the four major Hindu pilgrim centers-Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik. Hindu believers in millions congregate at these locations to cleanse themselves, symbolizing the attainment of ‘Nirvana’.
Haridwar is found within the state of Uttarakhand where the holy Ganges flows in from the Himalayan plains and is believed to effuse some 15,500 miles towards the Bay of Bengal within the East Coast of India. The traditional city of Ujjain is found on the banks of the Shipra River in Madhya Pradesh and Nashik on the banks of the Godavari River flows past the West Coast of Maharashtra.
The year 2007 cites important within the history of the Ardh Kumbh as celebrations gather momentum at Allahabad this year. Paush Purnima (3rd January) and Makar Sankranti (14th /15th January) solemnized “Gangasagar Snan” in multitudes.
More zest is predicted in Allahabad on the 19th of January, the Mauni Amavasya or the “New Moon of the Saints” day. The first and main bathing or cleansing day, holy folks perform gilded and naked processions by mendicants mark spiritual passions. It’s also each day when new members are initiated into the innumerable holy monastic orders or “Akharas” for the primary time.
The “Mauni Amavasya” hopes to witness a million pilgrims taking holy dips at the ‘Sangam’ in Allahabad or ancient “Prayag Raj”. Devout Hindus believe that on Mauni Amavasya, the sun, moon and therefore the planets – Venus and Mercury are within the zodiac of Capricorn, a rare but perfect alignment of planets.
The day deems special because the above planetary position enables the sun’s rays, once they fall on the Ganges to show the river water into nectar or ‘Amrit’, hence a dip within the holy river is like drinking nectar. Although all new phases of the moon nights or ‘Amavasya’ are auspicious for a holy dip, on this particular day, pilgrims don’t utter a word or keep “Maun”(silent) until they bath within the holy waters of the Ganges.
The three auspicious Hindu dates -Basant Panchami, Maaghi Purnima, and Maha Shivratri is predicted to feature to the gusto amongst monastic orders and Hindu believers to uphold their ranks within the various spiritual folds.
The Kumbh festivities might be reckoned as a colorful pageant of diversities within the Hindu religion, exposing facets of the cult or occult nature of Hinduism as a various sect. Hermits, sages, learned yogis and miracle men all rub shoulders and exhibit their spiritual prowess through their “Chakra” or meditative senses to commoners and missionaries alike.
The Kumbh Melas attract all sorts, from traditional to non-traditional followers of Hinduism from the Himalayas, Swamis, and Missionaries from South of India and also from shores abroad -Africa, Japan, Europe and also America.
The faces of ash-smeared mendicants, the “Digambers”, increase the mystic appeal of the Kumbh “Snaan”. The ranges of the learned men and their commoner devotees but speaks volumes about the overwhelming mass appeal that India continues to wield over other countries spiritually – a trend which has intensified with tour operators cashing on this season and developing tour packages round the Kumbh Mela and its destination.
Airports from metro cities are accessed directly through airports in Allahabad, Varanasi, and Lucknow. There are rail links from Allahabad to cities like Calcutta Delhi, Patna, Guwahati, Chennai, Mumbai, Gwalior, Meerut, Lucknow, Kanpur, and Varanasi. Allahabad is on National Highways (NH) 2 and NH 27 and Taxi Service , cycles and auto-rickshaws are the common means of transport within the town. Most tours are locally centered on the Allahabad city, the Fort and therefore the University.
The origin of the Kumbh Mela dates back to the Hindu mythological tale of “Sagar Manthan” (the Great Churning of the Ocean) which resulted within the pitcher of nectar or the “Amrit Kumbh” to emerge from the ocean.