Prayag Kumbh Mela

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~ Arunima 

Spirituality, a path to divulge the truths of life is worth our existence. Intense faith in almighty God brings positivity and calmness to deal with upcoming hurdles in life.

The confluence of three major rivers: the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the Saraswati alias The Triveni Sangam, is a pious and sacred spot; worshipped in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. Prayag Kumbh Mela is a special occasion celebrated every 12 years, upcoming in 2025. Famous rites and customs include ritual baths at Triveni Sangam. It is believed to take us out from the cycles of births and deaths and set us on the path to moksha. Myriads of celebrations like huge fairs, Hawan and religious community discourses of saints, grand food distributions, and grand river aartis are organized.

Ancient History:

Our Indian mythology is unique, it connects one to oneself. Many religious ancient texts such as the Puranas and Vedas brief us about our culture related to the history of the Kumbh Mela. Kumbh is the Sanskrit term for a pitcher or pot. The origin of Kumbh was led by the foundation of Samudra Manthan- the source of ambrosia (Amrit). The essence of Amrit was dropped by Lord Vishnu at four places, Prayagraj being one of those. It is treated as a significant religious destination in India. Ramcharitmanas describes the necessity and essential values of visiting these sites.

Its arrival is marked by Hindu lunisolar calendars and zodiacs(planetary movements). Prayag Kumbh Mela is amongst the 4 Melas organized in Ujjain, Haridwar, Nashik, and Prayagraj. The Maha Kumbh Mela comes after 144 years i.e after the completion of 12 Purna Kumbh Melas predominantly celebrated in Prayagraj. Traditional bathing and worshipping are commonly observed with many folk and cultural events. It was registered under UNESCO in 2017, showing incredible Indian sites. Many saints and monks bide their time in spiritual and conscious activities during the fair. Various myths and taboos became a source of interest among other things. The Mela attracts zillions of visitors where they experience the events on the New Moon day (Amavasya). Community marches with enchanting prayers while carrying flags are commonly practiced. Day-long fasting is the practiced norm, but for those who are unable to bear the hunger, pure vegetarian diets are suggested. Apart from this devotional singing, laser light dances, yoga events are organized.

Tourist Attraction:

Alluring destinations visited by tourists during this religious occasion incorporates the Sangam, Allahabad Fort, Patalpuri Temple, Hanuman Mandir, Ashok Pillars, Shankar Viman Mandapam, and Mankameshwar. Some of these sites serve as the stoppage on the way to Sangam. Allahabad Fort, one of the renowned archeological sites situated near the river Yamuna attracts tourists, a door in the eastern part leads to an underground Patalpuri temple full of idols and coins. Pilgrims with great faith believe that Lord Ram had visited the place, according to old texts. It is notable because of an immortal Banyan Tree (Akshaya Vat) which is highly praised. The notorious Hanuman Mandir, located near the river Ganga has been worshipped since the Vedic period. The warmth of spiritual relaxation and peace is observed among the woebegone tourers. There are ancient legends associated with this temple related to Allahabad Kumbh Mela. Other famous tourist places such as- Shankar Viman mandapam, The Minto park, The Ganga gallery, And the Swaraj Bhavan are frequently visited during this flamboyant fair.

Statistical Data:

Many documentaries and short films have been shot with vast media reporting. Statistics show 7.86 crore tourists including 3.50 lakh foreigners in 2013 (Maha Kumbh Mela) and 24 crore visitors with 10.30 lakh foreigners in 2019, the highest record ever recorded. Approx 18.42 crore Indians came over the Sangam in which 29.09 lakh were foreigners in 2014. This made the Kumbh Mela break a record, it was registered under the Guinness book of world records. Several amenities are made available by the state government, with approval of Rs 700 crore and 800 special trains. Also, The Prayagraj has well connected with the other states and countries, as the airport is located closely at Bamrauli, 12km away from the tourist place. Four main railway stations are present in the city with the best road route services available. Our transport and shipping minister has planned for airboat services from Varanasi to Prayagraj. The city incorporates various guest houses and Dharamshala facilities. Furthermore, luxury tents are provided. The Allahabad (Prayag) Kumbh Mela is a great delight for Indians as well as foreigners. It symbolically represents the true value of rivers and ancient Indian culture whose preservation is in our hands.

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