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Prayag Snan or Sacred Bathing Dates

Romola Butalia writes about the Triveni snan at the Mahakumbha at Prayag or Allahabad in 2013, with details about the auspicious bathing dates.

The great bathing festival at Prayag or Allahabad is celebrated at the Maha Kumbha every 12 years, and in between, at every Ardh Kumbha. Ceremonial bathing at the sacred sangam or conjunction of the Ganga, Yamuna and the subtle Saraswati known as the legendary mythological river began on Makar Sankranti on 13th Jaunary 2013. The District Magistrate accordingly declared the Mela period from then till Shivaratri, the great night of Lord Shiva, on 10th March 2013. The entire period was considered auspicious, with several special bathing dates.

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Kumbha Cities
Kumbha Bathing at the Triveni, Prayag has a much deeper significance than can be conveyed by describing it as a ritualistic sanctifying dip at the conjunction of the sacred Ganga and Yamuna. It is a tribute to the Hindu way of life, an affirmation of faith and a renewal of our deep-seated beliefs. The holy bath at a Kumbha is said to be equal in merit to thousands of snans during the month of Kartik, hundreds of Magh snans and crore snan in the river Narmada during Vaishakh. It's fruit is said to be equivalent to thousands of Ashwamegh Yajna, Hundreds Vajpaye Yajna, and lakhs of parikrama around the world.

Sahastra Kartike sananam, Maghe snanam shatanich,
Vaishakhe Narmada kotih Kumbhsnanen tatfalam.
Ashwamegh sahastrani, Vajpai shatanich,
Laksha pradakshina bhumyaha Kumbhsnanen tafalam

The Snan Parva or Bathing Dates for Maha Kumbha, Allahabad 2013 were:

14th January 2013 - Makar Sankranti
This festival is celebrated throughout India. It is the first of the major bathing days. The steady march of pilgrims had begun. At the camps in the Akhadas, the sadhus were there in strength. A time of anusthan.

27th January 2013 - Poush Purnima (Full Moon)
Full moon of Paush. The sadhu-sanyasins and the first pilgrims had already arrived. Early days of the Kumbha. The cold winter was still severe. A time of austerieties, of resolve and of determined hard work and of preparation for the largest spiritual congregation.

10th February 2013 - Mouni Amavasya
Also known as the new moon of the mahatmas. The grand ceremonial processions in all their pomp and glory, the celebrated snan of the sadhu-sanyasins, have transformed the Kumbha Mela Kshetra to a space of reverberating spiritual energy, palpable to pilgrim and tourist alike. It is also the day when formal sanyas diksha is taken in the Akhadas in age-old tradition.

15th February 2013 - Basant Panchami
The fifth day of the bright half of the lunar month traditionally marks the beginning of spring in North India. A profusion of yellow, the colour associated with the festival, amidst the pilgrims. Prayers for a good harvest, prayers for the bountiful blessings of the Gods.

25th February 2013 - Magh Purnima (full Moon)
The silvery moon of Magha glittered over the sangam of the sacred Ganga, Yamuna and the subtle Saraswati, otherwise called the mythological river. The trail of departing pilgrims will soon obliterate the footprints of those remaining.

10th March 2013 - Mahashivratri
The Great Night of Shiva, when devotees of Lord Shiva worship him with incalculable reverence. The final bathing date that marks the end of yet another Kumbha at Prayag.

Kumbhas to Come

The exact dates of the Kumbha are traditionally notified by the district administration after planetary conjunctions are calculated in association with the belssings of the sadhu-sants.

  • In 2015, the Maha Kumbh Mela at Nasik will be held from August.
  • In 2016, Maha Kumbh Mela will be held at Ujjain beginning towards the end of April.

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  • Editor: Romola Butalia       (c) India Travelogue. All rights reserved.