New Delhi | Jagran Lifestyle Desk: Millions of devotees, pilgrims, and tourists will congregate in the ancient city of Haridwar for the Maha Kumbh Mela beginning from January 14 on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sakranti. The social event highlights India's diverse culture and spreads the message of harmony and national integration.

Kumbh mela is celebrated in a cycle of approximately 12 years in four cities: Prayagraj, Haridwar, Nashik, and Ujjain. However, this time, the festival is taking place after 11 years instead of 12 because of the planetary movements. The festival will last for nearly over three months, ending with Chaitra Purnima Snan on April 27. Ahead of the commencement of the festival, here is all you need to know about the history and significance of this festival.

History  

There is no historic literary evidence of the Kumbh Mela prior to the 19th century, though the festival is credited to Adi Shankara, and eighth-century Hindu philosopher who is credited for unifying the main currents of thoughts in Hinduism. The words 'Kumbh Mela' have not been found in the ancient and medieval texts, however, the mentions of bathing pilgrimage have been found in a supplement to the Rigveda. It is also mentioned in Pali cannons of Buddhism. 

Significance

The festival lasts between one to three months and gather millions of pilgrims, devotees, and tourists from across the world. As many as 60 million people reportedly gathered for the festival in 2001. The social event highlights India's diverse culture and spreads the message of harmony and national integration.The Kumbh Mela has been inscribed on the list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2017. 

Posted By: Lakshay Raja