Thousands of pilgrims to seethe for Magh Mela

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Allahabad, Jan 14 (UNI) Thousands of pilgrims are likely to converge on the annual Magh Mela, starting tomorrow on Makar Sankranti, to seep in the highly spiritual ambience and enjoy the colour, beauty and often bizarre sights of the Mela, which has a special attraction of its own.

The Ganga, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswathi rivers meet at Allahabad, which is popularly identified as Prayag. It is this confluence of the holy rivers that has made Prayag one of the holiest spots in Hinduism.

Although, the festival is falling tomorrow, almost 50,000 devouts took the holy dip today itself and paid obeisance to Goddess Ganga.

The month long (Jan-Feb) Magh Mela at Allahabad are such great momentous events, where one can realize the essence of India's great religious traditions. The event is held here annually on the sandy bed of the river Ganga.

Rig Veda says that bathing at Sangam gives immortality to humans.

The Brahma Purana, Vishnu Purana, Varaha Purana, Matsya Purana talks about the importance of Prayaga or Sangam. Bathing at Sangam washes away the sins of generations. The Bathing Ritual at the Sangam is equal to 1,000 Ashwamedha Yajnas (horse sacrifices).

According to Hindu beliefs, Lord Ram, Sita and Laxman had visited Sangam during their 14 year exile. Pandavas also visited the holy city. Perhaps, there are very few places parallel to Allahabad which are described with great reverence in ancient scriptures as Prayag - Prayagraj or Teertharaj, that is, 'the holiest pilgrimage centre'.

Then, with the added attractions of Kumbh&Ardh Kumbh events, hailed as the world's largest congregation of devotees, its glory has doubled.

Legend traces the origin of this unique congregation from the time immemorial. The history of 'Kumbh' originates from the beginning of the creation.

According to Hindu Mythology, Gods and the Demons once churned the oceans in search of the 'amrit' (nectar) for immortality. As soon as the pitcher containing nectar was retrieved, a struggle started between the two to wrest control of the same. During this, the pitcher of Amrit was kept at four different places -- Prayag (Allahabad), Hardwar, Nasik and Ujjain making them hallowed and sacred.

Since then, when the planets come in a particular position, Kumbh festival is celebrated at these four places. When Jupiter is in Taurus and Sun is in Capricorn in the month of Magh (January) and when Jupiter is in Scorpio and Sun is in Capricorn Kumbh-Ardh Kumbh events are held at Allahabad after every twelve and six years respectively, whereas Magh fair (mini Kumbh) is held here annually on the banks of the Sangam.

The astrologers believe that such planetary position is the most auspicious occasion for spiritual realisation which obviously doubles the importance of the Sangam. The event, in actuality, a 'Bathing ritual'.

UNI ATI Mir GC1959

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