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Allahabad Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 Dates

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Hindu Devotees Gather For The Maha Kumbh
Daniel Berehulak/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The 2013 Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, in Uttar Pradesh, will be the next Kumbh Mela in India. It will take place for 55 days from January 14 (Makar Sankranti) to March 10 (Maha Shivaratri), 2013. It's a particularly holy event, as it's held only once every 12 years.

One of the most important activities undertaken by pilgrims at the Kumbh Mela is a dip in holy waters to wash away their sins. At Allahabad, people bathe where the Ganges, Yamuna, and mythical Saraswati River all converge. This point is referred to as the sangam.

What are the Allahabad Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 Dates?

Every day during the Mela is auspicious for bathing. However, the dates that have special significance and are thus the most auspicious, are as follows:
  • Thursday January 14, 2013 (Makar Sankranti)
  • Sunday January 27, 2013 (Paush Purnima)
  • Wednesday February 6, 2013 (Ekadashi Snan)
  • Sunday February 10, 2013 (Mauni Amavasya Snan)
  • Friday February 15, 2013 (Basant Panchami Snan)
  • Sunday February 17, 2013 (Rath Saptami Snan)
  • Thursday February 21, 2013 (Bhisma Ekadashi Snan)
  • Monday February 25, 2013 (Maghi Purnima Snan)
  • Sunday March 10, 2013 (Maha Shivaratri)

The main dates when the sadhus bathe (known as the Royal Bath) are highlighted in bold, with February 10 being the biggest occasion. It's expected that all sects of sadhus will have arrived in the area by January 12, 2013 (in time for the Makar Sankranti bath on January 14). Most will have left the area by the last bathing date and the majority of people taking a dip will be locals. Hence, there isn't a lot to see towards the end of the festival.

When does the Bathing Happen on the Important Dates?

Pilgrims usually start bathing from around 3 a.m. The sadhus commence their bathing from sunrise, with vibrant processions from the mela grounds to the bathing area. The different sects each have a set time for bathing, and it continues until late evening.

What's the Significance of the Dates?

The dates of the Kumbh Mela are determined astronomically, according to the positions of the sun, moon, and Jupiter. The Maha Kumbh Mela at Allahabad takes place during the Hindu month of Magh. "Agh" means sin, and "Magh" eliminates sin, so this month is particularly auspicious for getting rid of sin and obtaining salvation. The Hindu scriptures discuss the Magh Snan (ritual bath during Magh) as the ritual for achieving this. The bath is considered to be the most auspicious if done before sunrise.

Purnima (full moon) is considered to be a significant time for performing religious rituals. However, it's bathing on Mauni Amavasya (the new moon day when both the sun and moon are in Capricorn) that has the highest spiritual merit. Mauni refers to an ascetic who practices mauna (silence), which is a particularly important aspect of spiritual discipline. It symbolizes a state of oneness with the self, and the initiation of an inner dialogue.

Other significant days for bathing are Ekadashi, Basant Panchami, and Rath Saptami. Ekadashi is when the moon is either closest or furthest from the earth. Basant Panchami represents the start of spring and Goddess Saraswati's birthday. Rath Saptami is dedicated to the birthday of Surya, the Sun God.

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