Kumbh Mela
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Kumbh Mela 2014

Maha Kumbh Mela 2014 Date

When:27th January - 25th February 2014
Where: Allahabad, UP

Organised once every 12 years, the Maha Kumbh Mela is touted as being the greatest festival and pilgrimage destination in the Hindu religion. The celebration of Kumbh Mela takes places at four different locations, namely Prayag (Allahabad), Ujjain, Haridwar and Nasik; however, the Maha Kumbh Mela is held only once in twelve years in Allahabad. It is a cultural and religious spectacle that attracts visitors and pilgrims from all over the world.

The city of Allahabad is situated at the confluence of India's holiest rivers - the Ganga, the Yamuna and the Saraswati, known as the Sangam, where bathing is considered especially auspicious. The mela witnesses the largest gathering of Hindus, who all bathe in the holy water. According to the ancient Vedic texts, one who takes a dip in any of the four holy places during the Kumbh Mela, will attain ‘Moksha’ and gain liberation from the cycle of birth and death.

Millions of saints, monks, and sadhus (sage) attend this grand festival. The Maha Kumbh Mela has been called "the world's most massive act of faith" – the largest congregation of devotees at one place, and is a once in a lifetime experience.

Sadhus at Kumbh Mela

Pilgrims and sadhus are an integral part of the Kumbh Mela. People arrive from around the world to see and listen to these holy men, in order to gain spiritual enlightenment. There are various ‘kinds of sadhus’ attending the festival. Here’s a quick guide:

Nagas - These are naked sadhus, with long matted hair. Their bare bodies are normally smeared with ash. Constant exposure to the cold weather makes them resistant to extreme temperatures.

Kalpvasis - These sadhus remain by the river banks and devote their time to performing rituals, meditating and bathing several times a day.

Parivajakas - These sadhus have taken a vow of silence.

Shirshasinse - These sadhus always remain standing and sleep with their heads resting on a vertical pole. They also meditate standing on their heads.

Urdhwavahurs - These sadhus have emaciated bodies due to years and years of rigid spiritual practices.

Kumbh Mela Rituals

Pilgrims usually start coming in to begin their ceremonial bathing in the holy waters of the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati from around 3:00 am, which continues until late evening. The sadhus start their bathing rituals at sunrise, with vibrant processions from the Kumbh Mela grounds to the holy bathing area. Different sects of sadhus have different timings set for bathing.

It is impossible to entirely capture the essence of the Maha Kumbh Festival through words, photos, films or paintings, which can hardly do justice to something so massive and spiritual.

Auspicious dates for Maha Kumbh Mela 2014

The Maha Kumbh Festival 2014 is speculated to be one of the largest congregations in the history of mankind. This time, it will be held from 27th January to 25th February 2014.

27th Jan 2014 - Paush Purnima

06th Feb 2014 - Ekadashi Snan

10th Feb 2014 - Mauni Amavasya Snan

15th Feb 2014 - Basant Panchami Snan

17th Feb 2014 - Rath Saptami Snan

18th Feb 2014 - Bhisma Ekadashi Snan

25th Feb 2014 - Maghi Purnima Snan

How to get there

Allahabad is served by the Allahabad Airport and is linked to Delhi and Kolkata by JetLite and Air India Regional. Other airports in the vicinity are at Varanasi (Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport 125 km) and Lucknow (Amausi International Airport 238 km).

Allahabad houses the headquarters of the North Central Railway Zone, and is well connected by trains to all major cities in India.

You can also drive down. NH2 runs through the middle of the city.

Where to stay

The city of Allahabad offers many places to stay ranging from deluxe hotels to budget hotels; however, during the Maha Kumbh Mela, tented accommodation is usually offered on the grounds of the mela. Be sure to pre-book, or make arrangements to stay elsewhere well in advance. Considering the number of devotees that descend upon the city, it is wiser to pre-book a Kumbh Mela tour package.


- Make sure you pack good, comfortable, sturdy walking shoes

- Don’t forget insect repellent, socks and a warm jacket

- Women need to be fully clothed when they bathe in the Ganges. They will not be allowed to wear swimsuits.


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