Haridwar Kumbh Mela 2021: A Comprehensive Guide for Visitors
Amid uncertainties, the Haridwar Kumbh Mela 2021 will finally commence in April. Usually observed for 3 months (January to March), with millions from around the world thronging the holy city, the Haridwar Kumbh Mela this year will only take place for one month due to the pandemic. The Government of Uttarakhand is taking measures to ensure the safety of the visitors and to protect the essence of the world’s largest religious gathering. It has issued certain guidelines that you should know about, if you are planning to visit the Haridwar Kumbh Mela 2021.
In this blog, we help you plan your Haridwar Kumbh Mela 2021 trip by talking about these guidelines, some general safety measures, as well as the Shahi Snan dates. We also delve into the origins of the Kumbh Mela and the mythology behind it.
The Kumbh Mela is the world’s largest congregation of pilgrims. In 2017, it was recognised by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The event is held at four sacred river-side locations in India – Haridwar (Uttarakhand), Ujjain (Madhya Pradesh), Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh), and Nashik (Maharashtra) – and is celebrated every four years by rotation. The Prayagraj Kumbh Mela attracts the most visitors, followed by the Haridwar Kumbh. However, all four events are hugely important and share commonalities like the ‘Shahi Snan’: the traditional practice of taking a dip in the holy river to wash away one’s sins.
The Kumbh Melas aren’t just religious events; they involve different social and cultural activities, making them culturally diverse festivals. Besides devotees, they also attract photographers, filmmakers, and culture buffs.
On April 1, the Kumbh Mela 2021 will commence in Haridwar in Uttarakhand.
Kumbh Mela recounts puranic accounts of how Hindu gods and demons fought over a sacred kumbh (pitcher) of amrit (nectar of immortality) churned from the ocean’s depths. It is believed that Lord Vishnu, disguised as the enchantress ‘Mohini’, whisked the kumbh out of the grasp of the demons. As he took it towards heaven, drops of nectar fell on four sites, which we now know as Haridwar, Ujjain, Nashik and Prayagraj. The pursuit to claim the pitcher is said to have lasted 12 divine days, which is equivalent to twelve human years. And therefore, the Kumbh Mela is observed every 12 years, staggered at each of the four sacred sites in this cycle. The corresponding rivers are believed to have turned into amrit in the process, giving pilgrims the chance to wash away their sins by taking a dip the water.
Nestled in the foothills of the Garhwal Himalayas, Haridwar in Uttarakhand is an important Hindu pilgrimage destination. Located by the holy Ganges, this sacred destination is the venue for Kumbh Mela 2021. Millions are likely to throng Haridwar for this massive event. However, unlike previous years, the mela will only be held for one month. While it usually commences on January 15 and ends in March, the festival’s duration has been reduced to one month considering the COVID-19 situation in India.
While devotees can bathe or take a dip in the river on any day during the Kumbh Mela, there are specific days assigned for Shahi Snans, or Royal Baths. A major highlight of any Kumbh, the Shahi Snan presents the rare spectacle of sadhus (ascetics) in the thousands bathing in the water of the holy Ganges. Below are the dates of the Shahi Snan during Kumbh Mela 2021:
11TH March (Shivratri)- First Shahi Snan
12TH April (Somavati Amavasya) – Second Shahi Snan
14TH April (Mesh Sankranti) – Third Shahi Snan
27TH April (Chaitra Poornima) – Fourth Shahi Snan
* The state government is ensuring that all Healthcare Workers and Frontline workers engaged in public health and medical operations are vaccinated on priority.
* For visitors, a registration process on similar lines as the Amarnath Yatra will be followed.
* The state is discouraging vulnerable population (senior citizens above 65 years, pregnant women, children below 10, and those with underlying comorbid conditions such diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease etc.) from attending the Kumbh Mela.
* Downloading the Aarogya Setu App on phone is mandatory for visitors.
* Wearing mask and using sanitizer are mandatory.
While the state government is taking optimum measures to ensure the safety of visitors, here are some things that you can do ensure your safety at Haridwar Kumbh Mela:
* Main a distance of at least 6 feet from others in public areas.
* Wear a face mask at all times.
* Carry hand-sanitiser and use it to clean your hands at regular intervals.
* Cover your mouth and nose while coughing and sneezing with a handkerchief/tissue/flexed elbow. Dispose of the used tissue properly.
* Self-monitor your health and report any sign of illness at the earliest to State and District Helpline.
* Avoid spitting in public areas.
Club Mahindra has three properties near Haridwar waiting to welcome you. The Club Mahindra Mussoorie (82 km from Haridwar), Club Mahindra Kanatal (95 km from Haridwar), and Summit by The Ganges, Rishikesh (40 km from Haridwar) make for the best options to stay while visiting the Haridwar Kumbh.
We hope we have answered all your queries around the Haridwar Kumbh. Here’s wishing you a safe and pleasant visit to the sacred Kumbh Mela 2021.
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