Sadhus jump in a holy pond during the first <i>Shahi Snan</i> (grand bath) at the <i>Kumbh Mela</i> in Trimbakeshwar.
Sadhus jump in a holy pond during the first Shahi Snan (grand bath) at the Kumbh Mela in Trimbakeshwar. (File Photo: Reuters/Shailesh Andrade)
  • 1. When is it and Where is it Held?
  • 2. Historical and Mythological Significance
  • 3. Kumbh, Through the Years
  • 4. Rituals of Kumbh
  • 5. Major Attractions of Kumbh 2019
Kumbh Mela 2019 Explained: All About the Hindu Pilgrimage

The much-awaited annual event of Kumbh Mela, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, is slated to be even bigger and better in 2019.

Although it is usually spread over a 20 km radius, the Kumbh Mela – set to begin on 15 January and continue till 4 March – will be sprawled across 45 km this year.

UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had recently said that it is  because of the government’s endeavour that the mela will be “darshaniye (worth seeing), adbhut (amazing), divya (divine) and bhavya (grand).”

But what exactly is Kumbh Mela and why does it bear such significance on the social, political and cultural moorings of the country?

Here is all you need to know about the historic Hindu pilgrimage in six simple cards.

  • 1. When is it and Where is it Held?

    The Kumbh, in Hinduism, is celebrated four times over the course of 12 years.

    Geographically, the Kumbh Mela is held at one of four locations in India. The venue is selected on a rotational basis among four pilgrimage sites near the rivers considered to be sacred in the Hindu religion:

    • Haridwar in Uttarakhand (Ganga river)
    • Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh (Shipra river)
    • Nashik in Maharashtra (Godavari river)
    • Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh (at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna, and the mythical river Sarasvati)

    After the selection of the venue, the celebrations are determined on the basis of a distinct set of astrological positions of the sun, the moon, and Jupiter.

    As per the Kumbh Mela’s official website, “the celebrations occur at the exact moment when these positions are fully occupied, as it is considered to be the holiest time in Hinduism.”

    Preparations for the latest iteration of the Kumbh are underway at Prayagraj (Allahabad), with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath personally committing himself to hosting "a great and grand" celebration.

    Sadhus jump in a holy pond during the first <i>Shahi Snan</i> (grand bath) at the <i>Kumbh Mela</i> in Trimbakeshwar.
    Satellite view of the approximate area allocated for the Kumbh Mela 2019. 
    (Photo Courtesy: Google Maps)
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