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The origin of the Kumbh Mela festival
The ancient story of the churning of the ocean, that gave rise to the Kumbh Mela festival.

Harish Johari
Peter Marchand
Aum Gang Ganapataye Namah Aum
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Origin of the Kumbh Mela


 
 
 

The Kumbh Mela festival originates from the story of the churning of the ocean :

Cick for a larger image of the Churning of the OceanA 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.

Click for a larger image of Garuda carrying the Amrit VesselSomebody 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.

During 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 gem mines.

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.

 
 
 
 
Harish Johari
Peter Marchand
 
 
   
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Aum Gang Ganapataye Namah Aum