Ardh Kumbh Mela

Exactly six years after the Purna Kumbh Mela is held the Ardh Kumbh Mela. Know all about Ardh Kumbh Mela, one of the biggest events for the Indian Hindu community. When you have finished reading, do not forget to click here and refer this page to those you think will also like it. Enjoy your journey through the Ardh Kumbh Mela.
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One of the most sacred Hindu events, the Kumbh Mela is a grand religious fair held after every four years. The Purna Kumbh Mela, the biggest and the most auspicious fair, occurs four times every twelve years and is organised in rotation among four places where drops of the sacred nectar spilled over: Allahabad (Prayag), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. In Nashik it is held on the banks of the River Godavari, River Ganga in Haridwar, River Shipra in Ujjain and the confluence of the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati at Allahabad or Prayag (ancient name) in India. 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, Ardh Kumbh Melayogis, ascetics, mendicants, men, women and children on the planet. Around 60 million people is said to attend the Purna Kumbh Mela, making it the largest gathering anywhere in the world.

The Purna Kumbh Mela (Great Kumbh Mela), the most auspicious fair, is held once every 12 years in one particular place - Allahabad (Prayag). But the greatest is the Maha Kumbh Mela which periodically falls every 144 years or after 12 Purna Kumbh Melas, at Allahabad.

But every sixth year after a Purna Kumbh Mela sees an Ardh Kumbh Mela taking place. In the Hindi language the word "Ardh" stands for "half" and "Mela" means "fair". The "Ardh Kumbh Mela" is called so because it is held at the sixth year and marks the halfway stage between the celebration of the Purna Kumbh Melas every 12 years. The Ardh Mela (half Fair) takes place six years after the Maha Kumbh in each of the four aforementioned locations by turns.

During the period of the Kumbh Mela, a tent city comes up for over a month by the banks of the river (of the spot where the fair is held) to provide shelter to thousands of pilgrims. A number of Hindu religious organisations set up camps in the fair grounds during this period. In different spots of the region, folk theatre groups get busy enacting different stories and scenes from sacred Hindu texts. The myth of the "Amrita-Kumbha" is performed as a dramatic performance which is lapped up by the assembled devotees. People from all classes of society come in multitudes to the fair grounds driven by the desire to take a dip in the sacred river waters as well as to receive the blessings of the great holy men assembled in the fair. Many of the devotees live in camps and ashrams (temples) for the whole duration of the mela and lead a sacred life. Such a living is called "Kalpavas" and those who live thus are called "Kalpvasi".

Like its bigger counterparts (Purna Kumbh Mela, Maha Kumbha Mela) and smaller counterparts (Magh Mela) the purpose of organising Ardh Kumbh Mela is to commemorate the legend of the struggle between the gods and demons over the Amrita Kumbha (pot of nectar) and draws innumerable crowds who believe in the Hindu Puranas and come in quest of purifying their soul before entering the realm of god.

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