Prayag, India: The biggest cultural festival named Sanskriti Kumbh is celebrating the conglomeration of Spiritual Consciousness and Cultural Heritage of India in the main premises of Kumbh Mela area in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh.
What is Ardh Kumbh Mela?
Kumbh Mela is an important sacred holy pilgrimage in Hindu religion that takes in four important locations in India. The pilgrimage takes place once in twelve years in Prayagraj, Nasik, Ujjain and Haridwar. Ardh Kumbh Mela or Half-Kumbh Mela takes place in these four locations during the sixth year of the twelve-year cycle.
The most important bathing ritual dates during Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019:
- Monday, 15 January 2019 – Makar Sankranti (1st Shahi Snan)
- Monday, 21 January 2019 – Paush Purnima
- Monday, 04 February 2019 – Mauni Amavasya (2nd Shahi Snan)
- Sunday, 10 February 2019 – Basant Panchami (3rd Shahi Snan)
- Tuesday, 19 February 2019 – Maghi Purnima
- Monday, 4 March 2019 – Maha Shivratri
Importance of Ardh Kumbh Mela in Hinduism
- The Ganga (Ganges), Yamuna, and the mythical river Saraswati meets at Prayag or Prayagraj. It is this confluence of the holy rivers that has made Prayag one of the holiest spots in Hinduism.
- Rig Veda states that bathing at this ‘Sangam’ or at the confluence of these rivers gives immortality to humans.
- The Brahma Purana, Vishnu Purana, Varaha Purana, Matsya Purana talks about the importance of ‘Prayaga’ or ‘Sangam.’
- Bathing’ – during the Kumbh Mela at the ‘Sangam’- washes away the sins of generations.
- The ‘Bathing Ritual’ at the Sangam is equal to 1,000 Ashwamedha Yagnas (horse sacrifices.)
- Lord Ram, Sita, Lakshmana visited the Sangam during their exile.
- Pandavas also visited the Sangam.
- It is expected that more than a billion people will participate in the Ardh Kumbh Mela of 2019 at Sangam, Prayagraj.
Why is Kumbh Mela performed?
As per Hinduism, a living being goes through numerous cycles of birth and death before attaining liberation or moksha. Liberation in Hinduism is merging with the Supreme Truth (Brahman). In simple terms – it is attaining Vaikunta (the abode of Vishnu) or Shivaloka (the abode of Shiva).
By taking holy dip during the 12-year Kumbh Mela, a person will attain moksha. This is a strong belief among a majority of Hindus.
Moksha can be attained only by washing away sins of several births. The Kumbh Mela is an opportunity to wash away the sins.
Ministry of Culture Promotes Sanskrit Heritage
The Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India is organizing Sanskriti Kumbh with intent to showcase the rich Cultural Heritage of India in all its rich and varied dimensions viz. Performing Arts- Folk, Tribal and Classical art forms, Handicrafts, Cuisines, Exhibitions etc. all in one place.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Governor Ram Naik said “Kumbh is one of the oldest tradition in the world which showcases the unity in diversity of our country. I am honoured to restore the glory of our tradition during this Kumbh. Sanskriti Kumbh is celebrating the spirit of India’s glorious culture”.
A 30-minute choreographed performance by 250 artists of all the Zonal Cultural Centres was presented in the inaugural ceremony today which gave a gist of the grandeur of the coming 29 days.
Kumbh Mela is one of the oldest and largest congregation in the world. Kumbh Mela is attended by millions of people irrespective of all caste, creed, sex and region.
The significance of Kumbh Mela has been enhanced at the Global level as the UNESCO has inscribed Kumbh Mela on the list of Intangible Cultural heritage for humanity in 2017.
This time Kumbh is being organized in the city of Prayagraj which is located at the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna and Mystic river of Saraswati in Uttar Pradesh. With a view to promote and reconnect the people especially the youth with our magnificent and multifaceted culture along with the opulence and its historical significance. The Unity in Diversity characteristic of India also reaches its prime level with such a glorious event.
In order to promote this event digitally, a massive exercise in the online and social media sphere is being undertaken. Also, live footage of Sanskriti Kumbh will be aired on Ministry’s Youtube Channel and a large number of LED screens in the Kumbh Mela Premises.
In the Sanskriti Kumbh, an opulent Main Stage near Arail Ghat , Sector 19 is set up in Mela premises where Folk Dance and Singing performances by renowned Artists is taking place in two phases i.e 2pm to 5pm and 6pm to 9pm daily. The cultural performances will be continued for 29 days i.e upto 23rd February,2019 ( excluding Holy Bath days) . The cultural performances includes the legacy of India’s Spiritual and Mythological practices. Such dance performances will showcase the inclination of visitors towards devotion and Kumbh tradition. The folk dances, representing states from EAST WEST NORTH SOUTH India, will showcase the spirit of Unity in Diversity that is Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat. The artists representing 7 Zonal Cultural Centres have been enjoined upon the task of performing at main stage as well as taking it to different locations of Kumbh Mela .
Sanskriti Kumbh is deemed to showcase all aspects of Indian Culture in different areas designated for the same.
Accordingly, a Kalagram is also organized in which pavilions are set up by all the Zonal Cultural Centres as well as Academies , Museum and BTI . In this Kalagram Master craftsmen are displaying and selling their rare handicrafts. Also, delectable Traditional Cuisines prepared by Master chefs from various states is adding interest value with the unparallel experience to the visitors of their culinary expertise. IGNCA set up their Vedic exhibition gallery and Sahitya Akademi is displaying and selling books on various aspects of Indian Culture. Also, Allahabad Museum set up an exhibition on Mahakumbh, CIHCHS, Dahung exhibiting Sand Mandala and Lalit Kala Akademi organising Live Portrait Symposium. In the same premises the Classical Dance , singing and musical performances by artists of National and International stature promises to give a gist of varied musical tradition of India. These performances are being coordinated by Sangeet Natak Akademi and Spic Macay till end of the festival i.e 4th March,2019.
Under the banner of Sanskriti Kumbh , Rashtriya Shilp Mela is being organized in the premises of NCZCC where Shilp Haats are set up to display handicrafts and live demonstration of the skill by craftsmen.
Apart from above mentioned activities , the day long activities of traditional performances of fringe folk art like Behroopiya, Baazigar, Kachhi Ghodi is taking place in the designated places. These artists are also known as Maidani Kalakar as they perform in open area without any stage.
The brief schedule of Sanskriti kumbh is as follows:
|S.No.||CULTURAL PERFORMANCES||DATE/ SCHEDULE|
|1||Tribal, folk and traditional dance performances at the main stage||10th January to February 23, 2019 ( excluding holy bath days 14th to 16th Jan, 2nd to 11th Feb and 17th to 19th Feb)|
|2||Classical performances by renowned artists||10th January to March 4, 2019 (excluding holy bath days 14th to 16th Jan, 2nd to 11th Feb and 17th to 19th Feb)|
|3||Kalagram and Rashtriya Shilp Mela||10th January to March 4, 2019|
Indian Railways will run many special trains to the Mela.