India is a deeply spiritual country. We love our customs, traditions, and rituals. They form an integral part of our emotional and cultural fabric. A lot of our celebrations and events are centered around these very traditions. One of the biggest celebrations in India is the Ujjain Kumbh Mela.
We have nearly a billion people living in India. It is impossible to group these people together because of the sheer diversity and multitudes of cultures. Yet a lot of things bind us. Our faith, our acknowledgment of a deeper power, and belief in spirituality links us with others. We can feel this deep and spiritual connection when we visit celebrations and festivals. Held on a mammoth and massive scale, the Ujjain Kumbh Mela is something you have never imagined before. Let us learn a little bit about the glorious history behind this magnificent festival.
Kumbh Mela is a traditional Indian fair during which devotees and visitors bathe in a holy river. This is considered as a way to wash their sins and cleanse their souls. There are 4 Kumbh Melas– Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) Kumbh Mela, Nashik Kumbh Mela, Ujjain Kumbh Mela, and Haridwar Kumbh Mela. The Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years. The Ujjain Kumbh Mela and Nashik Kumbh Mela usually happen in the same year or a year apart. Ancient records and scriptures are unable to say when these festivals exactly began. The holy rivers are believed to have contained ‘Amrit’ or the holy nectar of Gods. Ujjain was also the last place to be included in the Kumbh Melas. A local ruler started inviting priests and holy figures from the Nashik Kumbh Mela to attend Ujjain. They carried their traditions and blessings and started the Ujjain Kumbh Mela. The last Ujjain Kumbh Mela was held in 2016. According to reports, 75 million people attended it!
The festival takes place on the banks of the Shipra River. It is also close to the Mahakaleshwar Jyotirlinga, one of the 12 most sacred venues dedicated to Lord Shiva. Millions of devotees attend this festival, take a bath in the river, indulge in singing, dancing, and prayers. You can sample local cuisine served hot and fresh at any of the carts arranged around the venue. For devotees, this is their only chance to interact with Sadhus (saints) or holy men who have undertaken penance for years and given up on material possessions. They can ask for blessings or participate in a discussion about faith, spirituality, and the universe with these learned men. Historians, cultural enthusiasts, and believers of all faiths come here to soak in the gratitude and joy.
Ujjain is a city located in Madhya Pradesh. Travelers and tourists can get here by catching a train, or bus from any major city in India. If you wish to take a flight, you can travel to Indore. From Indore, you can easily catch a bus, private taxi or train to Ujjain. Bookings and reservations for the event start years in advance due to the sheer number of attendees. The dates are fixed by the astrological charts and movements of planets. It is considered to be the world’s largest peaceful gathering of people. And what a sight it is! People of all strata, ages, backgrounds, and countries come together to celebrate their faith. You can attend sermons by the riverside or join a group of devotees singing prayers. Photographers, artists, and craftsmen flock here to display their art or cover the Ujjain Kumbh Mela. The festival is also referred to as Ujjain Simhastha. Over the years, the Indian Government has continued to take several precautions and preventive measures to ensure a safe and harmonious festival for all.