On the route to Shuddhi “Purification” with Ontime Travels Pvt. Ltd Kumbh Mela Dates: Venue: Haridwar, Uttaranchal 14th January – 28th April 2010
Kumbha Mela derives its name from the immortal – Pot of Nectar – described in ancient Vedic scriptures known as the Puranas. Kumbha in Sanskrit language means 'pot or pitcher’. Mela means 'festival'. Thus Kumbha Mela literally means festival of the pot. Or in this case a festival celebrating the appearance of the pot of nectar. The ancient origin of the Kumbha Mela is described in the time-honored Vedic literatures of India as having evolved from the bygone days of the universe when the demigods and the demons conjointly produced the nectar of immortality. It is said that the demigods and the demons assembled on the shore of the milk ocean that lies in the celestial region of the cosmos. The demigods and the demons made a plan to churn the milk ocean to produce the nectar of immortality. They then agreed to share the nectar equally once it was produced. For the task of churning the milk ocean, the Mandara Mountain was used as the churning rod, and Vasuki, the king of serpents, became the rope for churning. As the churning began, the Mandara Mountain began to sink deep into the ocean, at which time Vishnu incarnated as a great tortoise and supported the mountain on His back. With the demigods at Vasuki’s tail and the demons at his head, they churned the milk ocean for one thousand years. History of Kumbh
The churning of the milk ocean first produced a deadly poison which Shiva drank without being affected. As Shiva drank the poison, a few drops fell from his hands and were licked up by scorpions, snakes, and similar other deadly creatures. After Shiva drank the poison, numerous opulent items were produced. First a surabhi cow appeared, who could yield unlimited quantities of milk. A white horse named Uccaihsrava was then produced, as well as a white elephant named Airavata. Then a valuable gem called the Kaustubha-mani appeared. Next came the apsaras, beautiful dancing girls, and a host of other wonderful things appeared from the milk ocean. At last a male person named Dhanvantari appeared carrying the pot of immortal nectar in His hands. Seeing Dhanvantari with the pot of nectar, both the demigods and demons became anxious. The demigods, being fearful of what would happen if the demons drank their share of the nectar of immortality, forcibly seized the pot. Wherever the demigods went with the pot of nectar, fierce fighting ensued. In an endeavor to keep the nectar from falling into the hands of the demons, the demigods hid it in four places on the earth, Prayag (Allahabad), Hardwar, Ujjain, and Nasik. At each of the hiding places, a drop of immortal nectar spilled from the pot and landed on the earth. These four places are since believed to have acquired mystical power. History of Kumbh
Eventually, the demons overtiful woman, Mohini-murti, and approached the demons. When the demons saw the charming beauty of Mohini – murti, they lost all composure. Seeing Her slender hips, raised breasts, and pleasing smile, the demons completely forgot about drinking the nectar of immortality. While the demons were thus bewildered by Her beauty, Mohini – murti seized the nectar and returned it to the demigods, who drank it immediately History of Kumbh
Kumbha Mela The largest religious gathering in the world! According to astrologers, the 'Kumbh Fair' takes place when the planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries. Takes place at the following four locations of India: 1) Prayag, Allahabad (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) at the confluence of three holy rivers - Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna and Saraswati 2) Haridwar (in the state of Uttar Pradesh) where the river Ganga enters the plains from Himalayas 3) Ujjain (in Madhya Pradesh), on the banks of shipra river, and 4) Nasik (in Maharashtra) on the banks of Godavari river. The pilgrimage occurs four times every twelve years, once at each of the four locations. Each twelve-year cycle includes the Maha (great) Kumbha Mela at Prayag, attended by millions of people, making it the largest pilgrimage gathering around the world. There is a small town where Ganga comes out of the Himalaya into the plains. The town is called Haridwar. It is a famous place of pilgrimage. About Kumbh Mela
In 1998 Kumbh Mela was held at Haridwar. It is a fair where saints from all over India come here to take a holy dip. This time exactly after 12 years it is back to Haridwar. From great distances pilgrims arrive here on foot or by buses or by train. A huge campsite is set up. Lakhs of people gather here on this occasion. Lakhs of people rise in the morning and take a dip in the river. It becomes very crowded on the river-bank. All around only crowds of people can be seen. Some people bathe near the Ganga-temple iself, built in the river. Then they go to the temple to perform their worship. Other temples scattered along the bank also remain very lively with visitors. The great devotion that pilgrims come here with, that devotion can be seen everywhere. About Kumbh Mela
Haridwar, the venue for the Kumbha Mela of 2010, is one of the holiest cities in India. Considered to be blessed by Hindu Trinity – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, the city plays host to the 'Ardh Kumbh Mela' every sixth year. During this time, it is visited by thousands of devotees, who converge at the place where river Ganga enters the plains from Himalayas, to take a holy dip on the special bathing dates, specified as a part of the mela. Hardwar, situated on the foothills of Shivaliks, holds great religious significance for Hindus. It is the first place where Holy Ganges meets the plains, after coming down from the gigantic Himalayas. It also serves as home to one of the holiest bathing ghats in the country, known as 'Har Ki Paudi'. It is believed that taking a dip in the river, along the ghat, rids a person of all his sins. Every year, thousands of devotees can be seen bathing at the ghat. Apart from playing the host to Ardh Kumbha Mela and 'Har Ki Paudi', Haridwar is also known for being home to a large number of temples. It is among the seven sacred cities of India and is also considered to be one of the Shaktipeeths. The city is considered to be the gateway to the abode of Gods, as it provides the entry point to the Char Dham (the four main centers of pilgrimage) in Uttarakhand, namely Badrinath, Kedarnath, Gangotri, and Yamunotri. Religious Importance
Places of Interest Hari Ki Pauri Hari ki pauri ghat was built by King Vikramaditya to commemorate the descending of Ganga after years of difficult prayers and fasting done by his ancestor Bhagirathi. Lord Vishnu is believed to have left his foot prints on a rock at this ghat. Everyday at twilight the Har ki pauri ghat comes to life with singing prayers and lit up lamps along the Ganges where people in hundreds and thousands view this mesmerizing and cleansing ritual. It is believed that the one who bathes at Har ki pauri gets rid of all sins and completely cleanses their soul. Floral tributes and lit up diyas floating on the Ganges is the most enchanting sight one gets at this ghat. Chandi Devi Standing atop the Neel Parvat, the Chandi Devi temple was built in 1929 AD by the king of Kashmir Suchat Singh. It is believed that the main statue of goddess Chandi devi, who killed the demon brothers Shumbh-Nishumbh, was laid here in the 8th century AD by Adi Shankracharya. The Chandi Devi temple can now be reached by a ropeway as well.
Places of Interest Mansa Devi Situated on the southernmost hill of the Shivalik ranges is the Durga temple called Mansa Devi. One can reach this temple either on foot or by a cable car. Perched on Bilwa Parvat, the temple provides a panoramic view of the Haridwar city with the Ganges flowing in its middle. Sapt Rishi Ashram & Sapt Sarovar It is at this place that Ganges is believed to have divided itself into seven small streams to not to disturb the Sapt (seven) Rishis meditating and worshipping here. Bharat Mata Mandir It is one of its kind temples in Haridwar and is dedicated to Mother India, tracing its history from the times of Ramayana to present day. This eight storied temple houses the pictures and idols of some of the great Indian men from ancient to present times and pictures of the cities of the country. A must visit to get a sneak preview in to the history and culture of India.
Places of Interest Sati Kund This is the holy place where the wife of Lord Shiva, Mata Sati is believed to have done the ritual of self-immolation. The ghat here is thus famous today as Sati Kund. Rajaji National Park / Chila Wildlife Sanctuary The Rajaji National Park, spread over an area of 240 sq km, houses the Chila wildlife Sanctuary and is situated at a distance of 10 km from Haridwar. Situated on the banks of River Ganges, the sanctuary is a haven for a large number of animals. This biodiversity park boasts of nearly 23 mammals and about 315 fauna species. The river in the park houses large number of fishes and fauna in the water. At Chila you can have the pleasure of spotting leopard, tigers, jungle cat, herd of elephants, wild boar, stags, spotted deer, sloth bear, langur, monkeys, woodpecker, king cobra etc. During the monsoons the park remains closed and otherwise it is open after sunrise and closed after dusk.
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