Where: Allahabad, India.
‘Magh Mela’, which sees the congregation of more than a million devotees along the confluence of three holy rivers- the Ganges, the Yamuna & the Saraswati, marks the high religious significance in the Hinduism! The holy fair of ‘Magh Mela’ is held annually in the month of Magh according to the traditional Hindu calendar & continues over a period of 45 days.
The main ritual involves taking a holy dip in the confluence of three reverential rivers on the auspicious days in order to wash away the sins & to progress towards the attainment of the ‘Moksha’ (Liberation of the soul)- an ultimate aim of every Hindu!
Throughout the festive season, hundreds of thousand devotees turn up at Allahabad from all over India & the banks of the Ganges, get transformed into a small bustling town filled with the religious spirit & divinity! Apart from pious Hindus, several Sadhus (hermits) & sages from all across the nation also appear here in order to take a holy dip while chanting various religious verses.
The ‘Magh Mela’ is also referred as the mini Kumbh Mela. Maha Kumbh Mela, which is organized here after every 12 years, has much grandeur form.
Why They Celebrate?
The rivers of ‘Ganges’, ‘Yamuna’ & ‘Saraswati’ hold high importance in the traditional Hindu beliefs. The confluence of these three holy rivers near the city of Allahabad is regarded as the ‘Triveni Sangam’. ‘Triveni Sangam’ is considered as a reverential place since it is believed that the ‘Sangam’ had received one of the drops of the holy nectar during the war between the demons & the gods over the possession of the pot of the nectar, which evolved during the churning of the ‘Ocean of Milk’.
In order to get benefitted from the drop of the holy nectar, every year, multitudes of devout Hindus gather at this place to take a dip in the holy waters & wash away all the sins of their current as well as previous births. According to the religious beliefs, the cleaned souls get free from the cycle of Janma (birth) & mrityu (death) & lead to the ultimate destination called as the ‘Moksha’, wherein, the purified souls get merged with the great soul of the almighty! ‘Moksha’ is considered as the ultimate destiny of every Hindu & taking a dip at ‘Triveni Sangam’ helps the devotee in the attainment of his ‘Moksha’!
How They Celebrate:
During 45 days of the ‘Magh Mela’, the banks of the confluence get converted into a small township of makeshift shelters. All the devotees spend their time in performing various religious rites called as ‘Puja’ & chanting the holy verses from ancient Hindu manuscripts called ‘Vedas’! The atmosphere turns into an enchanted spiritual abode of gods & the devotion & the compassion attain the apex!
Throughout the festive duration, bathing rituals are performed on the predetermined auspicious dates during which, a record number of devotees turn to the confluence in order to take a dip in the holy waters at the time of dawn. The devotees perform the bathing rituals by worshiping the rising sun & then taking a dip in the holy waters. Another round of bathing ritual is repeated in the afternoon & in the evening, the devotees again gather at the banks holding oil lamps to venerate the waters & take the final dip for the day. The process is repeated daily till the period person stays in Allahabad.
The entire period of ‘Magh Mela’ is called as ‘Kalpavas’ & the diligent observer of this ritual is called as ‘Kalpavasi’. ‘Kalpavasis’ spend their entire month in bathing thrice a day in the holy waters, eating meal only once a day & indulging in various prayers & religious rites throughout the day. ‘Kalpavasi’ has to donate his/her bed & other belongings used during the stay in ‘Allahabad’ before leaving the city. The ritual is called as ‘Shayya Daan’ (Bed Donation).
The most auspicious dates for performing the bathing rituals during ‘Magh Mela 2015’ are as follows:
Paush Purnima: January 5th.
Makar Sankranti: January 14th.
Mauni Amavasya: January 20th.
Basant Panchami: January 24th.
Maghi Purnima: January 30th.
Maha Shivaratri: February 17th.
The day of ‘Maha Shivaratri’ marks the conclusion of this 45 days long spiritual extravaganza & over the period of the festival, more than 3 million devotees visit the holy ‘Triveni Sangam’ in order to venerate the Ganges & to cast away their sins!