The Kumbh Mela — the largest congregation in the world — sees world gathering of saints, pilgrims, devotees to take holy dips in the sacred confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mystical Saraswati. Bathing in these rivers is thought to cleanse and purify ones’ soul of all sins. Recognized by UNESCO as India’s ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’, Kumbh Mela never ceases to amaze and its amazement is always felt in the grandeur of it being the largest religious-cultural festival in the world.
The arrival of annual visitors — the Siberian gulls — at the Triveni Sangam in Allahabad heralds the onset of winters. With the onset of winters, these Siberian birds spread their wings to take flight of thousands of kilometres all the way from Siberia via Afghanistan, Mongolia and Tibet crossing high Himalayan mountains.
Somnath is one of the oldest pilgrim centers of India and is said to house one of the twelve jyotirlingas of Lord Shiva. Somnath temple is located on the western coast of Gujarat and is one of the oldest and most revered temples of India and finds its reference in the most ancient texts like Shreemad Bhagavat, Skandpuran, Shivpuran and Rig-Veda which signifies the importance of this temple as one of the most celebrated pilgrimage sites or Tirthdham.
Located on the west coast of Gujarat, Dwarka is known as Lord Krishna’s abode. Dwarka, the holy land surrounded with the legends of Lord Krishna, is a significant pilgrimage site for the Hindus. The city lies in the westernmost part of India. Dwaraka (also known as Dvaravati, both names meaning “the many-gated city” in Sanskrit. Dwarka is one of the foremost Chardhams, four sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites, and is one of the Sapta Puri, the seven most ancient religious cities in the country.
In Hindu tradition Triveni Sangam is the “confluence” of three rivers. Sangam is the Sanskrit word for confluence. The point of confluence is a sacred place for Hindus. A bath here is said to wash away all of one’s sins and free one from the cycle of rebirth. One such Triveni Sangam, in Prayagraj (Allahabad) has two physical rivers Ganges, Yamuna, and the invisible or mythic Saraswati River. The site is in Prayag (Allahabad).
Kumbh derives its name from the immortal Pot of Nectar, which the Demigods (Devtas) and Demons (Asuras) fought over, described in ancient Vedic scriptures known as the Puranas. It is these Vedic literatures that have stood the test of time, out of which the tradition has evolved into the one that the world now knows as The Kumbh Mela or The Kumbha Mela. The festival is one of the largest peaceful gatherings in the world, and considered as the “world’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims”.
Gangasagar is a charming tourist destination, which attracts both pilgrims and adventure lovers. Nestled in one of the delta islands is Gangasagar. Also called Sagardwip or Sagar Island, it is one of the largest islands on the Ganges delta and holds immense religious significance. Gangasagar has acres of silver sand and clear blue sky, and the calm sea to spend the time in tranquillity.