INTRODUCTION

According to Hindu mythology, Kumbh Mela is an important and religious festival which is celebrated four times over the course of 12 years. The location of the festival keeps rotating between four pilgrimage sites situated on the banks of the holy rivers. These places are: Haridwar on the Ganges in the Uttarakhand, Ujjain on the Shipra river in Madhya Pradesh, Nashik on the Godavari river in Maharashtra and Prayagraj at the confluence of three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati in the Uttar Pradesh.

Haridwar Kumbh Mela , the largest religious congregation of pilgrims on earth witness millions of people including ascetics, saints, sadhus, kalpavasis and visitors irrespective of their caste, creed and gender. The event encapsulates the science of astronomy, astrology, spirituality, ritualistic traditions, social and cultural customs and practices, making it extremely rich in experience. It is thereby, The Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage under UNESCO has inscribed ‘Kumbhmela’ on the representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during its 12th session held at Jeju, South Korea from 4-9 December 2017.

Kumbh Mela is held every 12 years in rotation at the four holy places namely: Hairdwar, Prayagraj, Ujjain and Nasik. The next Kumbh Mela will be held in Haridwar from January 2021 to April 2021. The last Kumbh Mela organized in Haridwar in 2010 had witnessed approximately 8 crores pilgrims/ visitors whereas more than 15 crores pilgrims/visitors are anticipated to visit this time. Kumbh 2021 is unique due to its astrological significance and will be organized a year earlier in Haridwar as sun would enter in Aries and Jupiter in Aquarius in 2021 instead of 2022 making this mega event unique and auspicious.

Kumbh 2021 is planned to cover four districts of Uttarakhand; Haridwar, Dehradun, Tehri Garhwal and Pauri Garhwal. Kumbh 2021 would be spread over 150 sq. KM and divided into 41 sectors. This will be one of such event in India which will organize bathing on the main river front of holy Ganga by developing temporary ghats, riverfronts and barricades.

Haridwar Kumbh 2021

pilgrims to the Kumbh Mela come from all sections of the religion ranging from Sadhus (saints) and Naga Sadhus who practice ‘sadhana’ and keenly follow a strict path of spiritual discipline, to Hermits who leave their seclusion and come to visit the civilization only during the Kumbh Mela, to seekers of spirituality, and to common people practicing Hinduism.

During the Kumbh Mela, a number of ceremonies take place; the traditional procession of Akharas called ‘Peshwai’ on elephant backs, horses and chariots, the shining swords and rituals of Naga Sadhus during ‘Shahi Snaan’, and many other cultural activities that attract millions of pilgrims to attend the Kumbh Mela.