Kumbh Mela is the largest religious congregational fair of the Hindus and has known celebration from many centuries. This pilgrimage is observed four times every twelve years, at each of these four places - Prayag, Ujjain, Haridwar and Nashik. The celebration of Kumbh Mela sees the convergence of millions of devotees, shamans, monks and religious saints across India, making the festival the largest of all Hindu fairs. According to astrologers, Kumbh Mela takes place when the planet Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries.
However, the mythical legends associated with Kumbh Mela dates back to
the Vedic Period. According to Vedic scriptures, the Kumbh Mela was the
outcome of a grueling fight that took place between the demigods and the
demons. The observance of this religious fair can be ascribed to the
following story - Once upon a time, the demigods and the demons gathered
together on the shore of the milk ocean, which lies somewhere in the
cosmos. They made an agreement that they would churn the ocean to
produce the nectar of immortality and later share it among themselves.
They used the Mandara Mountain as a churning rod and Vasuki (the king
of serpents) as the rope for churning. The demigods and demons churned
the ocean for about 1,000 years. However, when a pot of nectar evolved
from the ocean bed, the demigod ran away with it and hid it in four
places on the Earth - Prayag, Hardwar, Ujjain, and Nashik. Vicious
fighting between the demons and demigods ensued and a drop of nectar
fell on each of these places, thus investing these places with mythical
powers. Therefore, the Kumbh Mela, which in translates to 'Festival of
the Pot', was actually born out of this age-old mystical tale involving
demons and demigods.