Since time immemorial, The Kumbh Mela, the greatest of the Indian fairs, has enamored people from all walks of life. Irrespective of all worldly barriers of caste, creed, region, the Kumbh Mela has wielded a mesmeric influence over the mind and the imagination of the ordinary Indian. The mela brings alive the most spectacular India, now almost relegated to the pages of history.
Symbolically speaking, the forces of creation are collected in one vessel (Kumbh) and a celebration (mela) ensues, which is why this event is called ‘Kumbh Mela’. “Kumbh” meaning the pot and “Mela” a sacred Hindu pilgrimage, attracts the world’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims.
Millions of Hindu worshippers take a dip in the holy River Ganges at the flowing together of the three rivers; the holy Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, to wash away their sins as part of a festival, in the small town of Allahabad. The month long Mela (festival) represents a time when the river is believed to turn into purifying nectar, allowing the devotees to cleanse their souls as they bathe.
This Mela presents the surrealistic view of a mini-India, where trans-sectarian Hindus are one on the issue of the virtues of the holy bath. All the devotees experience and understand the invisible, ultimate reality of wholeness and oneness, in the same way, as does a pilgrimage to Mecca to Muslims and Jerusalem to Christians of different quarters of the world.
Displaying a passionate paradigm of Hinduism both at its best and its worst, it is undoubtedly, the greatest religious fair and the highest state of water symbolism. Though representing the infinitesimal Indian civilization, this mela in its magnificent form, reminds us of our extraordinary religious and spiritual legacy, and helps to maintain national integration by arousing psycho-traditional urges of the people.