Haridwar Kumbh Mela 2021: First ‘Shahi Snan’ begins on Shivratri
Lakhs of devotees take first Shahi Snan on Maha Shivratri
TNI Bureau: Amidst COVID-19 guidelines, the first ‘Shahi Snan’ at Haridwar Kumbh Mela has begun on the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivratri today on March 11. Lakhs of devotees including general public, saints, Naga Sadhus thronged at ‘Har Ki Pauri’ Ghat in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar and took bath in the holy water of river Ganges.
The second and third ‘Shahi Snan’ will be celebrated on April 12 (Somvati Amavasya) and 14 (Mesh Sankranti and Baisakhi) respectively. The fourth and last Shahi Snan will be held on April 27 (Chaitra Purnima) and on the same day, the Haridwar Kumbh Mela 2021 will come to an end.
The Kumbh Mela is one of the World’s largest peaceful gatherings in the history of Hinduism at four different locations that are situated on the bank of the sacred rivers – Prayagraj (at the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati River), Ujjain (River Shipra), Haridwar (River Ganga) and Nashik (River Godavari).
The Kumbh Melas are classified as 1) The Purna Kumbh Mela (sometimes just called Kumbh or full Kumbh), occurs every 12 years at a given site; 2) The Ardh Kumbh Mela (half Kumbh), occurs approximately every six years between the two Purna Kumbh Melas at Allahabad and Haridwar 3) The Maha Kumbh which occurs every 12 Purna Kumbh Melas i.e. after every 144 years.
The Kumbh Mela traces its origin in the ancient legend of ‘Samudra Manthan’. This Hindu legend describes the creation of ‘pot of amrita (nectar of immortality)’ after the forces of good and evil churn the ocean of creation. The gods and demons fight over this pot, the ‘Kumbh’ of nectar in order to gain immortality.
Lord Vishnu instructed Garuda (celestial bird of Lord Vishnu) to fly away with the Amrit Kumbh (pot) to keep it beyond the reaches of demons. But some drops of Amrit were dropped from the Kumbh at four places Prayagraj, Ujjain, Haridwar and Nashik and thus became holy pilgrimage destinations.
People believe that Kumbh Mela is the most auspicious time to take a dip in the sacred river to free themselves from their sins and attain a step forward towards salvations.