Kumbh Mela is a festival celebrated by Hindus where the devotees take a dip in the water of holy rivers, especially the Ganga.
The devotees believe that taking a dip in the holy water will absolve them of their sins and end the cycle of birth and death for them.
It is celebrated in four different cities every 12 years, namely Haridwar, Prayagraj (Allahabad), Ujjain and Nashik. Starting from January 14, this time the Kumbh Mela is happening in Haridwar and will continue till April 27. The dates for holy bathing rituals are as follows:
January 14, 2021: Makar SankrantiFebruary 11, 2021: Mauni AmavasyaFebruary 16, 2021: Basant PanchamiFebruary 27, 2021: Maghi PoornimaMarch 11, 2021: Maha Shivratri (first shahi snan — royal bath)April 12, 2021: Somwati Amavasya (second shahi snan)April 14, 2021: Baisakhi (third shahi snan)April 21, 2021: Ram NavamiApril 27, 2021: Chaitra Purnima (fourth shahi snan)
The dates of Magh Mela are decided on the basis of astrological predictions. Sometimes the mela can happen just one year apart at the sites. For the first time in 80 years, the Kumbh Mela is happening in Haridwar after 11 years, instead of the usual 12.
There are predominantly four kinds of kumbh melas that are organised. Kumbh Mela happens at four places every 3 years while Ardh Kumbh Mela is held every 6 years at Haridwar and Prayagraj. The Purna Kumbh Mela is organised at Prayagraj every 12 years. Lastly, the Maha Kumbh Mela is held every 144 years only at Prayagraj.
In Haridwar, devotees take a dip in river Ganga while in Ujjain, they take bath in river Shipra. Hindus visiting Nashik take a bath in river Godavari. Devotees take the holy dip in the confluence of river Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati in Prayagraj. The confluence of these three rivers is called Sangam.
Devotees who wish to participate in the Kumbh Mela at Haridwar can stay in one of the hundred hotels in the region or may take shelter in an ashram.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the number of devotees visiting the area is expected to be less than previous years. For shahi snans, pilgrims will have to get an e-pass via online booking this year.