The world’s largest, peaceful gathering of humanity, is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in one of India’s most sacred rivers.
The Kumbh Mela is one of the largest religious festivals in India – and on earth – and listed by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The religious festival has deep philosophical and spiritual significance for Hindus. This mass pilgrimage of faith, is celebrated four times over the course of 12 years. The Festival, exact dates are determined by Hindu astrology – a combination of zodiac positions of Jupiter, the Sun and the Moon.
The site of the observance rotating between four pilgrimage places on four sacred rivers – at Haridwar (river Ganga), Prayag (Triveni sangam of Yamuna, Ganga and Saraswati), Ujjain (river Shipra), and Nashik (river Godavari). It is commonly believed that those who take a holy dip or bathe in the sacred water of these rivers during the Kumbh Mela Festival have their sins washed away and are eternally blessed by the divine.
Tens of millions of Hindu devotees in India, will gather to wash their sins away on the banks of the Ganges River or at the other locations. The spectacle begins in earnest before dawn, with the first in a series of holy baths led by the iconic naga sadhus – holy men who made their way down to the river naked, their bodies covered in ash and perform sacred rituals.