To understand the significance of the Kumbha Mela and the important role
that it plays in the spirituality of India, it is helpful to know something
about the background of the sacred Ganges River. The devout believe that
simply by bathing in the Ganges one is freed from their past sins [karma],
and thus one becomes eligible for liberation from the cycle of birth and
death. Of course it is said that a pure lifestyle is also required after
taking bath, otherwise one will again be burdened by karmic reactions. The
pilgrims come from all walks of life, travelling long distances and
tolerating many physical discomforts, such as sleeping in the open air in
near freezing weather. They undergo these difficulties just to receive the
benefit of taking a bath in the sacred river at Kumbha Mela.
important of these melas is the Kumbh Mela. A mass pilgrimage for the Hindu
community of India, the Kumbh Mela or Kumbh fair is rumoured to be one of
the largest congregation of sages, yogis, ascetics, mendicants, men, women
and children on the planet. It occurs four times every twelve years and is
organised in rotation among four places: Allahabad (Prayag), Haridwar,
Ujjain and Nashik.
Every twelve-year cycle includes one Purna Kumbh Mela [Great Kumbh Mela]
at Prayag. Around 60 million people is said to attend the Purna Kumbh Mela,
making it the largest gathering anywhere in the world.
The Maha Kumbh Mela periodically falls every 144 years or after 12 Purna
Kumbh Melas, at Allahabad. Kumbh Mela derives its name from the AmritaKumbha
[Pot of Nectar] described in the ancient Vedic scripture "çrémad-Bhägavatam".
In Sanskrit language, the word Kumbha means "pot or pitcher". Mela means
"festival". Thus Kumbh Mela literally translated means 'festival of the
pot,' that is, the pot of nectar.
This spectacle of faith has for many
centuries attracted the curiosity of foreign travellers. Hiuen Tsiang of
China, who lived during the seventh century, was the first to mention Kumbha
Mela in his diary. He gave an eyewitness report that during the Hindu month
of Magha [January-February] half a million people had gathered on the banks
of the Ganges at Allahabad to observe a celebration for 75 days. The
pilgrims, writes Hiuen Tsiang, assembled along with their king, his
ministers, scholars, philosophers, and sages. He also reports that the king
had distributed enormous quantities of gold, silver, and jewels in charity
for the purpose of acquiring good merit and thus assuring his place in
See more on Kumbh Mela
Magh Mela - Religious Festival
The Magh Mela is one of the greatest annual religious affairs for Hindus.
Hindu mythology considers the origin of the Magh Mela to be the beginning of
the Universe. An important occasion, the Magh Mela is held every year
on the banks of Triveni Sangam [the confluence of the three great rivers
Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati] in Prayag near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.
In accordance with the traditional Hindu calendar followed in North
India, this holy fair is organised every year during the Hindu month of Magh.
This is not always a pleasant experience due to the cold and the chilliness
of the water. See picture right: * Sadhus immerse themselves during
the annual Magh Mela festival in Allhabad.
The Magh, we have discovered, corresponds to mid January - mid February
of the Gregorian calendar; hence the name. The Magh Mela is,
however, not confined only to the month of Magh and the important bathing
dates are spread over a period of 45 days. The Magh Mela is actually a
smaller version of Kumbh Mela. Hence it is also known as mini Kumbh Mela.
Devotees wait for the rain and chill to subside before Devotees hold
prayer lamps as they perform evening rituals taking a dip in the Ganges
River ahead of the Kumbh Mela on the banks of the Ganges River at Haridwar.
festival in Haridwar.
* In Hinduism, sadhu, or shadhu is a common term for a mystic, an
ascetic, practitioner of yoga and/or wandering monks.
Nirvana Day - 15th February
Also on the 8th of February Parinirvana - Nirvana day Mahayana Buddhist
festival marking the anniversary of Buddha's death.
When is Holi Indian Festival of Colours
The day after the full moon in March each year.
In 2011, Holi will be celebrated on Sunday, 20th March.
In 2012, Holi is early, on the 8th of March.
Wesak or Buddha Day
This is the most important Buddhist festival. It celebrates the
See more on Wesak 2011
Diwali - Indian Festival
Diwali, also called Deepavali or Dipavali, the Hindu festival of lights,
is the most popular and special of all Hindu festivals. It is also an
occasion for celebration by *Jains and *Sikhs.
The festival of Diwali extends over five days. The date of Diwali is set
by the Hindu calendar so it varies in the Western calendar. It usually falls
in October or November and because of the lights, fireworks and sweets
involved, it's a great favourite with children.
The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil, light over
darkness and knowledge over ignorance, although the actual legends that go
with the celebration are different in different parts of India.
*In Jainism people come together over three days and celebrate the
Nirvana of Lord Mahavira and welcome in the New Year. Whereas for Sikhs,
Diwali celebrates the release of the Guru, Hargobind Ji from imprisonment
and people celebrate by lighting the way to the Golden Temple.
See more on Diwali
Easter in India
India is a land of cultural diversity; hence every festival is celebrated
with great pomp and show. Although Christians constitute a meagre 3% of the
total population in India, the festive spirit of Easter is no less.
Republic India Day - 26th January
Republic Day is one of the three national holidays of India and the
greatest festival celebrated in the country. It is celebrated every year on
26th January, in New Delhi with great pomp, fanfare and pageant. While in
the capitals of the States and other headquarters, it is marked with
See more on Republic India Day - 26th January
Jokes for Indian Festivals
Museum Administrator: That's a 500-year-old statue you've
Sardar: Thank God! I thought it was a new one!
Having lost his donkey Sardarji Uddam got down to his knees and
started thanking God.
A passerby sees him and asks, So, your donkey is missing, what are you
thanking God for?'
Uddam replies, 'I am thanking Him for seeing to it that I wasn't riding
the donkey at that time, otherwise I, too, would have been missing.'
See more Sardar Jokes
Ghandi Joke for Any Indian Festival
As you may know, Ghandi went everywhere barefoot and so he developed an impressive collection of callouses.
Because of his meagre diet he was frail and he suffered from terrible bad
breath. What conclusion can we draw from this?.........
He was a super-calloused fragile mystic, hexed by hallitosis!
Please send us your interesting facts
and stories about Indian festivals.
See examples of international jokes, humour and funny pictures ....