|Maha Kumbha Mela|
Maha Kumbha Mela is a religious get-together, held four times in twelve years to commemorate the churning of the water by the devas (gods) and asuras(demons); and the emergence of Dhanvantari (divine doctor), carrying a kumbha (pot), containing nectar. Drops of nectar fell at twelve places in the world; of these Hardwar, Ujjain, Prayag and Nasik are in India. At each of these places, in a twelve-year cycle, a mela is held.
The story of the Maha Kumbh Mela is based on the Vedic scripture called Shrimad Bhagavatam, which has deep significance. Songs and drama related to these stories are enacted.
In accordance with the legend, the Devas (Angels) and the Asuras (Demons) decided to work together and churn the ocean. They were in search of the various secrets that lay hidden within its depth, including that of the nectar of immortality.
They began to churn the ocean using Mandar Mountain as the churning stone with the giant python named Ananta Naga as the rope that coiled around it.
The Devas took hold of Ananta’s tail and the Asuras took hold of his head. They began to pull the giant python from both the sides creating a huge tug of war. A venomous poison started to emerge from it, which would destroy the entire universe. Apparently, Lord Shiva drank the poison to save the world. It is believed that Danwantri, the divine healer, appeared holding the nectar – Amrita in a large jar called the Kumbh.
The Hindu mythology states that the gods and the demons fought a great battle for a Kumbh (pitcher) containing the nectar of immortality.
Vishnu got hold of the container and took off. During his flight, four drops of the nectar fell on the earth – at Allahabad, Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain.
The fight lasted for 12 days and the gods were victorious. They consumed the nectar, which is a scene portrayed in the illustrations of Hindu mythology.
A huge mela (fair) is held in these places (Allahabad, Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain.). The sacred nectar fell once, in every 12 years (since one day in the life of the gods equates to 12 years in the life of mortals).
The Allahabad Kumbh Mela is the largest mela. It is said that it is the largest religious gathering of the world. Innumerable people come to bathe in the Ganges.