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One of the largest peaceful gatherings of people around the world, Kumbh Mela (or Kumbha Mela) is a sacred pilgrimage for all Hindus.
When and where is Kumbh Mela taking place this year? How can you attend it? Will the pandemic affect it?
What is the origin of Kumbh Mela?
The foundation of the Melas is based on the myth of amrit kumbh (the pitcher of nectar of immortality), churned out during the samudra manthan. Legend has it that as Lord Vishnu, disguised as Mohini, took the kumbha from the demons and carried it to the heavens, a few drops of the amrit fell on four different spots on the floor.
These spots are today known as Ujjain, Allahabad (Prayagraj), Nashik and Haridwar. The rivers flowing through these four places turned to amrit at that moment, and hence today, pilgrims bathe in them with the faith that holy waters would purge them of their sins.
The fall of the drops and the following pursuit is believed to have lasted 12 days, that is 12 human years, and that’s why, the Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 12 years at either of these four locations.
When and where is Kumbh Mela in 2023?
The dates of Kumbh Mela is based on the Hindu luni-solar calendar and depend on the astrological positions of the sun, moon, and Jupiter.
2023 is going to be the year of Magh Kumbh. Magh Kumbh is believed by the Hindus to be the origin of the Universe and is, therefore, an auspicious occasion.
In 2023, Magh Kumbh Mela has been organized at Prayag. It will be held for the usual 45 days this year, from 6 January to 18 February.
The following are the most auspicious days to bathe in the holy waters of the Ganga-Yamuna convergence at Prayag:
- Paush Purnima: January 6
- Makar Sankranti: January 15
- Mauni Amavasya: January 21
- Basant Panchami: January 26
- Maghi Poornima: February 5
- Maha Shivratri: February 18
How to reach Prayag and get around?
Prayag can be reached conveniently by air, rail, water, and road.
The Allahabad Airport (IXD) is the nearest airport to Prayag and is connected to all other metro cities in the country by Air India and IndiGo.
Allahabad Chheoki Junction and Naini Junction are the two nearest railway stations. Trains like Shiv Ganga Express from Delhi, Mahanagri Express from Mumbai, Kolkata Rajdhani from Kolkata, and Sanghamitra Express from Bengaluru regularly run to Prayag.
Devotees can also take a boat from Qila Ghat to the confluence point at Sangam.
State-run and private intercity buses are also easily available to Prayag. The Civil Lines Bus Stand is the closest to the Triveni Sangam. Devotees driving independently to Prayag can take the Agra-Lucknow Expressway from Delhi, NH 52 from Mumbai, NH 19 from Kolkata, or NH 44 from Bengaluru.
Once in Prayag, you can get around easily by your own vehicle or hired taxis, buses, and rickshaws.
The city of Prayag is packed with religious spots for devotees to visit.
- Visit the sacred Shringverpur temple, where Lord Rama crossed the Ganga along with Sita and Lakshman on the way to his exile.
- Learn about the legend of Bhardwajeshwar Mahadev at the Bhardwaj Ashram, established by the sage Bhardwaj. It is said that even Lord Rama had visited this ashram to seek Rishi Bhardwaj’s blessings.
- Head to ISKCON Prayagraj, a small temple complex with a Dharamshala and a Goshala, to see the beautiful Sri Radha Veni Madhava idols and do meditations.
- Pray at the 500 sq feet wide Shree Akhileshwara temple near Rasulabad Ghat road, whose foundation stones were laid by Parampoojya Swami Tejomayanandaji and Poojya Swami Subodhanandaji of Chinmaya Mission.
Where to stay in Prayag?
Hundreds of hotels and resorts in Prayag have prepped to accommodate lakhs of visitors for the 2023 Kumbh Mela.
From lush star hotels like Hotel Milan Palace, The Legend Hotel, and Grand Continental Hotel, to budget options like Kunjpur Guest House, Jain Mandir Dharamshala, and Mathur Vaishya Dharamshala, visitors have a wide range of places to stay at during the month of Kumbh Mela.Book cheap hotels and Dharamshalas in Prayag
COVID-19 rules and regulations
Unlike last year, the Kumbh Mela authorities haven’t released any specific guidelines for the Magh Kumbh Mela 2023 in Prayag.
However, given the large number of devotees that are expected to flock to the Mela, it is advisable to take precautionary steps against the virus. Keep your mask on when in public. Sanitize your hands frequently, and avoid close contact with other people.
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