Lakhs of devotees braved bone-chilling cold weather to take a dip in the holy Ganga last week on the occasion of Makar Sankranti as a customary practise and also marked the beginning of the Ardh Kumbh mela.
Check out a few interesting things about this mela:
The Kumbh Mela is held once in 12 years whereas the Ardh kumbh or Half Kumbh Kumbh Mela is held every sixth year at Haridwar and Allahabad.
Ardh Kumbh melas are held between two Punra (complete) Kumbh melas at Prayag and Haridwar.
The mela is spread over 45 days.
This year, lakhs of devotees took a dip in the holy Ganga on the occasion of Makar Sankranti to mark the first major bath of the Ardh Kumbh mela at various ghats of the river including Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar.
As many as 10 crore devotees are expected to take part by April in the Ardhakumbh mela this year.
After taking a dip in the holy river, people offer their prayers to the Sun God a ritual called ‘Arghya’ and then visit temples.
When does Ardh Kumbh mela take place?
According to the common belief, when Jupiter enters Aquarius and the Sun enters Aries, the Ardhakumbh mela is held. Kumbha means ‘pot’ and mela means ‘fair’. The congregation of lakhs of devotees makes this event one of the largest religious gatherings on earth.