Thousands of Kashmiri Pandits have gathered in a Kumbh Mela, which was held after a gap of 75 years in north Kashmir district of Bandipora.Dashar Maha Kumbha was organised on the confluence of sacred rivers Sindhu and Vitasta in Ganderbal district of Kashmir after a period of 75 years, in which thousands of Kashmiri Pandits have participated.The Kumbh was organised in Waskoora tehsil of Ganderbal district, Convenor of Maha Kumbh Celebration Committee (MKCC)
Here is the concise information about Kumbha Mela for those who are hearing it for the first time.
What is Kumbha Mela ?
Kumbh Mela or Kumbha Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. Traditionally, four fairs are widely recognized as the Kumbh Melas.
The Haridwar Kumbh Mela, the Allahabad Kumbh Mela, the Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha and the Ujjain Simhastha, although priests at other places have also claimed their local fairs to be Kumbh Melas.Bathing in these rivers is thought to cleanse a person of all sins.
The exact date of Kumbh Mela is determined according to a combination of zodiac positions of the Jupiter, the Sun and the Moon.Usually Kumbha Mela occurs once in 12 years and Maha (“Great”) Kumbh Mela occurs after 144 years.
The exact age of the festival is uncertain. According to medieval Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu dropped drops of Amrita (the drink of immortality) at four places, while transporting it in a kumbha (pot).
These four places are identified as the present-day sites of the Kumbh Mela. The name “Kumbh Mela” literally means “kumbha fair”.
The festival is one of the largest peaceful gatherings in the world, and considered as the “world’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims”.
There is no precise method of ascertaining the number of pilgrims, and the estimates of the number of pilgrims bathing on the most auspicious day may vary.
Confluence of Jhelum and Sindh rivers
At the confluence of Vitasta (Jhelum), Krishen Ganga and Sindh (Indus) rivers, there is a Chinar tree that stands on a small island in the middle of the confluence spot where there is a Shiva Lingam and there are also religious places like Shadipora Ghats and Narayan Bagh.
Tree is surrounded by water on all sides. This is known as Prayag Chinar. One has to come to this Chinar tree in a boat and go up some steps to have a commanding view of the confluence.
The Shiva Lingam kept under the shade of this tree’s trunk is also worshipped.This tree is considered mystical and sacred by Kashmiri Pandits and it is believed that even if the river is flooding, the tree never sinks.