The Khumbh Festival
According to the Hindu theology, the origin of the Kumbh Mela (festival) is found in one of the most popular ancient puranas, the Bhagavata Purana. The Samudra manthan episode (Churning of the ocean of milk), is mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, the Mahabharata, and the Ramayana.
One of the first written evidence of the Kumbh Mela can be found in the accounts of Chinese monk Xuanzang (alternately Hsuan Tsang), who visited India in 629–645 CE, during the reign of King Harshavardhana. Similar observances date back many centuries, where the river festivals first started getting organised.
The Kumbh Venues
Simhastha at Ujjain
The Kumbh in Ujjain – also called Simhastha as is its association with Leo -is famous as the Simhastha Parva. On this occasion the following ten coincidences assemble together
- The month of Baisakha
- The bright fortnight
- The full moon day (Purnima)
- The sun in the arise (Mesha Rasi)
- The brihaspati (Jupitor) in Leo
- The moon in the libra (Tula rasi)
- The vyatipata yoga
- The pious Monday
- The holy Ksetra Avantika
On the occasion of this pious Parva, hundreds of thousand devotees from India and abroad take bath in the sacred Kshipra River. It is a memorable experience to watch the colourful procession of the seers and sadhus, who come with their Akhadas for the holy dip. These religious leaders stay in Ujjain during the entore Simhastha period and take bath on specific bath-days.
During the Simhastha Parva every pilgrim after taking the bath visits the Mahakal temple and offers prayers to Lord Shiva.