Kumbh Mela is the largest hindu festival that occurs once
in every 12 years in four major pilgrim centres across India
: Hardwar, Allahabad, Uijain and Nashik. All of India's saints,
sages, mendicants and fakirs come out of their caves for the
Kumbh Mela every three years.
This geographical sequence is coordinated with
the astrological relationship of Jupiter
to Pisces and Aquarius. The Kumbh Mela is an ancient Indian
festival of the holy ones and is alluded to in the epic Mahabharata.
The name Kumbh Mela itself means "assembly of the water
pot," and relates to the ancient story of the churning
of the ocean that provides the origin for the unique festival
of the Kumbh Mela.
See some pictures of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
The Kumbh Mela festival originates from the
story of the churning of the ocean :
long time ago the gods and demons made a concerted effort
to churn the ocean to extract its elixir, the amrit or the
water of life. They both desired immortality, which only the
water of life could bestow. First they extracted 12 precious
objects, then the divine medicine man, Dhanwantari,
emerged from the ocean with a pot of amrit, or nectar.
Somebody had to distribute the amrit equally
among gods and demons, so Vishnu
assumed the form of Mohini, a beautiful woman, and through
sleight of hand, she gave the demons varuni, or liquor,
while the gods got the amrit. The demons, however, caught
on to the deception and grabbed the amrit kumbh, or
pot of elixir.
the quarrel, some drops of the elixir fell on the earth.
Jayant, the son of Indra,
removed the pot from the quarreling gods and demons
and ran away with it. He rested at four places in India,
where he set down the pitcher, drank a little, and let
a few drops of nectar spill to the ground. Where these
drops landed became the four sacred sites of Kumbha
Mela, but where the earlier drops fell on the earth,
from the jostling of the pitcher, became the precious
Another story relates how Garuda,
the sacred mount of Vishnu, spilled the amrit four times at
the four places where the Kumbh Mela festival is now held.
His journey took 12 days, equalling 12 years for mortals.
More complete story of The
Churning of the Ocean.