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Paush Purnima: Congregation of beliefs in Kumbh Mela

Recognised as India’s cultural heritage by UNESCO, Kumbh Mela is not limited to a human congregation only, but in its characteristic, it is also a congregation of multiple beliefs too


Ram Rekhan Mishra, from Kohanduar, 20 km north of Pratapgarh town in Uttar Pradesh, travels to over 60 km to Phaphamau on the day of Purnima, every month to take a dip in the ‘holy’ Ganges. By doing this, the 81-year old Mishra offers gratitude to the Ganges for the well-being of his family members, society and livelihood. Paush Purnima, which is being celebrated as the second Shahi Snan in the Kumbh Mela 2019 today, is a great day for Mishra to offer his gratitude to the river.

He wants the next generation to be grateful to the river Ganges as “it gives life to millions of human being, animals, plants and farming.” 

One month long Kalpvas begins from today with Paush Purnima, continues to Maghi Purnima. Devotees spend one month on the banks of Sangam in worshipping their Lords and taking ‘holy dip’ in the confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati. Kalpvasees are one of the major parts of the Prayagraj Kumbh Mela. 

A friend of Mishra, Ram Dayal Yadav, 62, from the same place feels all types of happiness for his family and relatives after taking a bath in the confluence. According to him, the next generation should be aware of religious and historical significance of Kumbh Mela.  

Travelling with her husband, from Murshidabad district of West Bengal, 59 year old Aloka Brahamchary has different wishes from the ‘holy dip’ at the sangam on Pasuh Purnima. She wants peace for her, for her kids, for the society and for the country. On the other hand, her husband, 64 year old Rupayan Brahamchary, feels pure from all kinds of wrong thins after participating in the Shahi Snan today. It was second time in his life he came to Kumbh to worship the Sangam. He tells a reason behind this, Sangam’s receiving the amrit, the nectar of immortality, after samudra manthhan.  

Recognised as India’s cultural heritage by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in December 2017, Kumbh Mela is known as the world’s largest human congregation. However, it is not limited to a human congregation only, but in its characteristic, it is also a congregation of multiple beliefs as people gather here with their different wishes.

The youth also show a great zeal towards taking a ‘holy dip’ in the Sangam. Hrithik Mishra, 19, pursuing graduation in Allahabad University, said, “I had a lot of negative thoughts and stress in my mind. All of them washed away after having bath in the Sangam. Now, I only have positive thoughts and feeling of love for everyone. I would like to convey a message to the people to come here, take a dip and feel the peace of mind.”

Speaking with full of maturity, Amit Raj Shukla, 20, from Pratapgarh, studies in Allahabad University said, “If a person has belief, he would come to take a dip in the Sangam no matter wherever he lives in the country. But, if a person who doesn’t have faith, will not do so even if he lives here. Kumbh Mela is all about your belief.”

People from all corners of life participate in the Kumbh Mela, especially on the day of Shahi Snan. Taking a dip in the Sangam is the most important ritual followed by the pilgrims. Om Prakash Yadav, 42, runs a publishing house, Rohit Book Company in Allahabad. He takes a dip every time Kumbh is celebrated. “I get peace of mind after taking a dip in the Sangam. It also gives a feeling of happiness after taking part in the world’s largest human congregation. 

Overseas tourists, travelling India during the Kumbh Mela also seem to be fascinated with the magnificence of Kumbh Mela. Maksym from Kyev, Ukraine is in India nowadays. When he heard about Kumbh Mela, he came to the city for a day. He said. “It is a very interesting religious event which we do not have in our country. People are very spiritual here. It is big thing for us to see such zeal.    

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