Let the Kumbh Begin

Devdutt Pattanaik takes you through the many layers of mysticism the Kumbh Mela and Simhastha are rooted in

“The holy bath of the Kumbh is equal in piety to thousands of Kartik snans (baths), a hundred Magh snans and crores of Narmada snans. The fruits of a Kumbh snan are equal to the fruits of thousands of Ashvamedh yajnas and lakhs of journeys around the earth.” – Skanda Purana

The Kumbh Mela has its origins deep in Indian mythology and legend – but specifically in the Vedic Agnicayana ritual performed on the plains of the river Ganges about 3,000 years ago. A bird-shaped altar was kept aflame to invoke the radiant sun-like bird Suparna, who would fetch from the realm of the gods the pot, or kumbh, of magical nectar believed to bring health, virility andprosperity to the performer of the ritual. But by the time the Puranas were written, about 2,000 years ago, the kumbh containing the nectar of immortality, amrita, had to be churned out from the ocean of milk by two sets of Lord Brahma’s children – the devas and the asuras. The asuras tried to take it by force, the devas obtained it by trickery, and in the ensuing fight, drops of the nectar fell at Haridwar, Nashik, Prayag (Allahabad) and Ujjain, its powers manifesting depending on the location of the planet Jupiter in the zodiac.

The river Kshipra, on the banks of which Simhastha is held (this year April 22-May 21), heralds back to the tale of Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. The story goes that Shiva wrenched off Brahma’s fifth head in a fit of rage, but the skull stuck to his palm and could only be removed by a river of blood. So Lord Vishnu asked Lord Shiva to strikehim on his head and out flowed a river of blood that cleansed Lord Shiva of his sin and released the skull from his palm. This river is said to have become the Kshipra, or the purifier. The 18th-century Kaal Bhairaav temple, on the banks of the river, harks back to this tale in its worship of Lord Shiva, the guardian deity of Ujjain.

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A key part of the festival’s rituals is bathing in the waters of the Kshipra, but only after the sanyasis (hermits) have bathed in it. Legend has it that these ascetics exchanged ideas on river banks. These were marked by astronomical events that later became open to the public and came to be known as the Kumbh Mela. There are so many myths swirling around that we may never know how it all started, but the Kumbh Mela showcases the grandeur of a festival that celebrates time and space, the alignment of planets and the life-giving waters of a river. In simple words, it can be described as a bath to wash sins away, to purify the soul, and to reboot.

kumbh

dqEHk dk vkjEHk

nsonŸk iVuk;d vkidks dqEHk esys ls tqM+ha ,oa flagLFk esa fufgr jgL;okn dh vusdkusd ijrksa ls voxr djk jgs gSaA

^^dqEHk ds nkSjku fd;k x;k ikou Luku gt+kjksa ckj fd, x, dkfrZd Luku] lSdM+ksa ek?k Luku ,oa djksM+ksa ueZnk Luku ds leku gSA dqEHk ds Luku dk Q+y gt+kjksa v’oes?k ;K rFkk i`Foh dh pkjksa vksj ;k=k ls feyus okys yk[kksa Q+yksa ds cjkcj gksrk gSA** & Ldan iqjk.k

Hkkjrh; ikSjkf.kd dFkkvksa ,oa nardFkkvksa esa dqEHk esys ds egŸo dks fo’ks”kdj oSfnd vfXup;u esa yxHkx 3]000 o”kksZa igys xaxk unh ds eSnkuh bykdksa esa vk;ksftr fd, tkus okys vuq”Bku ds ckjs esa foLrkj ls crk;k x;k gSA mTToy lw;Z dh Hkkafr fn[kus okys i{kh lqi.kZ ds vkºoku ds fy, i{kh ds vkdkj dh osnh cukdj tykrs gSaA ,slh ekU;rk gS fd og nsorkvksa ds dqEHk ls tknqbZ ve`rykrk gS rFkk vuq”Bku djus okys dks LokLF;] lkgl ,oa le`f) iznku djrk gSA fdarq yxHkx 2]000 o”kksZa igys tc iqjk.kksa dks jpk x;k rc rd ve`r dk dqEHk czãk ds iq=ksa nso ,oa vlqjksa ds nks xqVksa us nqX/k lkxj ls eaFkdj fudky fy;k FkkA vlqj bls cyiwoZd tcfd nso bls pkykdh ls izkIr djuk pkgrs FksA mu nksuksa ds la?k”kZ esa ve`r dh dqN cwansa /kjrh dh pkj ufn;ksa esa tk fxjhaA budk izHkko jkf’k pØ esa c`gLifr xzg ds LFkku ds vk/kkj ij izdV gksrk gSA izR;sd 12 lky ckn tc c`gLifr xzg dqEHk jkf’k esa izos’k djrk gS rc dqEHk esyk gksrk gSA c`gLifr xzg tc flag jkf’k esa izos’k djrk gS rc mTtSu esa flagLFk dk vk;kstu fd;k tkrk gSA

f{kizk unh ftlds fdukjs flagLFk vk;ksftr gksrk gS ¼bl lky 22 vizSy ls 21 ebZ dks dqEHk esys dk vk;kstu gksxk½] og lfn;ksa ls czãk] f’ko ,oa fo”.kq ls tqM+h dFkk c;ka djrh vk jgh gSA dFkk ds vuqlkj f’ko us vkos’k esa vkdj czãk dk ikapoka flj /kM+ ls vyx dj fn;k FkkA fdarq mudh [kksiM+h f’ko dh gFksyh ls tqM+ xbZ vkSj og dsoy jDr izokg ls gh NwV ldrh FkhA rc fo”.kq us f’ko ls mudk flj /kM+ ls vyx djus dks dgk ftllsjDr dk izokg cgsxk ftlls f’ko dk iki Hkh /kqy tk,xk rFkk czãk dk flj mudh gFksyh ls vyx gks tk,xkA dgrs gSa fd jDr dk izokg gh f{kizk vFkok ‘kks/kd unh cu xbZ FkhA f{kizk unh ds fdukjs fLFkr 18oha lnh esa fufeZr dky HkSjo eafnj esa f’ko dh mikluk ds le; J)kyqvksa dks ;gh dFkk lqukbZ tkrh gaSA mYys[kuh; gS fd f’ko dks gh mTtSu uxjh dk j{kd ekuk tkrk gSA

blds vusd vuq”Bkuksa esa ls ,d f{kizk esa Luku djuk gS fdarq laU;kfl;ksa ds i’pkr gh vketu Luku djrs gSaA fdaonarh ds vuqlkj bl izdkj ds vk;kstuksa esa laU;klh vkil esa fopkjksa dk vknku&iznku djrs FksA [kxksyh; ?kVukvksa }kjk fpfºur fd, x, bu /kkfeZd ioksZa esa vke yksxksa dks vkus dh vuqefr nh tkus yxh] tks dqEHk esys dgykus yxsA ,sls dbZ feFkd vklikl fo|eku gSa fd ge ‘kk;n ;g dHkh u tku ik,a fd budh ‘kq#vkr dc ls gqbZA fdarq dqEHk esyk ml HkO; ioZ dk izn’kZu ek= gS tks le; ,oa LFkku] czãkaM esa xzgksa dh fLFkfr ,oa thou&iznku djus okys unh ds ty dk mRlo gksrk gSA ljy ‘kCnksa esa ;g Luku ek= gS tks iki /kksus] vkRek dh ‘kqf) ds fy, gS rFkk Lo;a dks le>kus ds fy, fd iqutZUe ,oa nksckjk ls ‘kq#vkr djus dh laHkkouk cuh jgrh gSA

Off to Ujjain.

History

Some say the first official mention of the Kumbh Mela has been traced to the 17th-century Persian document Khulasat-ut- Tawarikh by Sujan Rai. The credit of hosting the mela in Ujjain for the first time, in the 18th century, rests with the Maratha ruler Ranoji Shinde, who invited to his kingdom hermits gathered in Trimbak (near Nashik) for the Kumbh Mela there. Indian rulers have long known how festivals and pilgrimages not only give kingdoms a legitimacy but also boost the local economy

Royalty and mythology

According to the Mahabharata, Ujjain is 3,000 years old. Also called Ujjaini, it was ruled by King Vikramaditya and Ashoka, and famous poet Kalidasa penned his poetry here. Mythology says the first meridian passes through Ujjain, marking the city as the universal time coordinate. Thus, Ujjain is also known as the city of kaal or time. Ujjain is unique as the jyotirlinga and the shaktipeeth are both found in the same place, representing a grand communion of Shiva and Shakti. Among the 12 jyotirlingas, the Mahakal has been considered the adhipati aadidev of Ujjain.

What’s Simhastha?

Every 12 years, when Jupiter “enters” Aquarius, or kumbh, the Kumbh Mela is held. And when Jupiter “enters” Leo, or simha, the Simhastha in Ujjain is held.

…A smart city

today Located on the banks of Kshipra, Ujjain’s potential was limited to spiritual significance for long, but the phenomenal and well-planned progress witnessed by the city in the last decade has fostered its potential as a promising new city on the progressive map of new India. Ujjain is one of the 100 cities shortlisted under the Government of India’s flagship Smart City programme. Located near the state’s commercial capital Indore, Ujjain has naturally benefited from the shift in real estate growth to Tier-3 cities. The abundant availability of land, proximity to industrial areas like Dewas, increasing demand of residential and commercial units have sparked a real estate boom in the city. A clean city today, Ujjain has swanky hotels, malls, a planned transport system, and medical facilities. It is also an educational epicentre

Ready for Simhastha

  •  Rs. 3,092 crore is being spent on Ujjain’s infrastructure ahead of the Kumbh Mela.
  • vkxkeh dqEHk esys ds nkSjku mTtSu ‘kgj esa ewyHkwr lqfo/kk,a miyC/k djkus ds fy, 3]092 djksM+ #i, [kpZ fd, x, gSaA
  • Space can be pre-booked in the 12 new parking lots. Live parking information will be flashed on all major roads approaching Ujjain. The Ardh (half) Kumbh is held at only two cities — Haridwar and Allahabad, every sixth year.
  • okguksa dh ikfdZax ds fy, 12 u, LFkyksa dks igys ls gh vkjf{kr dj fn;k x;k gSA mTtSu dh vksj tkus okys lHkh izeq[k ekxksZa ij buls lacaf/kr tkudkjh miyC/k gksxhA
  • Kumbh Mela is held every third year at one of the four cities– Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayag), Nasik and Ujjain. Thus, the Kumbh Mela is held at each of these four cities every 12th year
  • dqEHk esyk gj rhljs o”kZ gfj}kj] bykgkckn ¼iz;kx½] ukfld ,oa mTtSu tSls pkj ‘kgjksa esa ls ,d esa vk;ksftr gksrk gSA blh rjg gj 12 lky ckn Hkh ;gha ij dqEHk esyk gksrk gSA
  • A 19-km pipeline will divert water from the Khan river to ensure only pure water flows to all ghats in the Bhukhi Mata, Ramghat and Mangalnath areas.
  • [+kku unh ls is;ty dh vkiwfrZ ds fy, 19 fdyksehVj yach ikbiykbu fcNkbZ xbZ gS ftldh enn ls Hkw[kh ekrk] jke?kkV ,oa eaxyukFk {ks= ds lHkh ?kkVksa dks ikuh dh O;oLFkk dh tk ldsA
  • A 50-layer GIS map has been prepared to facilitate monitoring of the mela area from the control room. A mobile app with an emergency button is also in the works.
  • esyk {ks= esa cus daVªksy :e ls ekufp= dh lqfo/kk nsus ds fy, 50&ijr okys thvkbZ,l eSi rS;kj fd, x, gSaA blds vykok eksckby ,i rS;kj fd;k x;k gS tks vkikrdkyhu cVu ls dke djrk gSA
  • More than 60 million people are expected to visit the Simhastha, one of the world’s largest religious gatherings
  • The Ardh (half) Kumbh is held at only two cities — Haridwar and Allahabad, every sixth year.
  • gj N% lky ckn v/kZ&dqEHk dsoy nks ‘kgjksa gfj}kj ,oa bykgkckn esa vk;ksftr fd;k tkrk gSA
  • 34,000 new toilets will be constructed
  • esyk {ks= esa dqy 34]000 u, ‘kkSpky; cuk, tk,axsA
  • GPS-equipped garbage collection vehicles will be deployed.
  • thih,l lqfo/kk ls ;qDr okguksa dks dpjk mBkus ds dke esa yxk;k tk,xkA
  • One lakh litre milk &ghee 40,000 kg .The daily projected sale during the Maha Kumbh
  • egkdqEHk esys ds nkSjku izfrfnu ,d yk[k yhVj nw/k ,oa 40]000 fdyksxzke ?kh dh fcØh dk vuqeku gSA
  • 650 CCTV cameras will be installed at 134 points.
  • 134 txgksa ij dqy 650 lhlhVhoh dSejs yxk, tk,axsA
  • April 22 will see the first Shahi snan, or the royal holy dip at Ujjain
  • mTtSu esa vizSy 22 dks dqEHk dk igyk ‘kkgh Luku vk;ksftr gksxkA

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