KUMBH MELA is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. It is the world’s largest religious gathering, with 80 million people expected in 2013. It is held every third year at one of the four places by rotation: Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayag), Nasik and Ujjain. Thus the Kumbh Mela is held at each of these four places every twelfth year. Ardh (“Half”) Kumbh Mela is held at only two places, Haridwar and Allahabad, every sixth year. The rivers at these four places are: the Ganges (Ganga) at Haridwar, the confluence (Sangam) of the Ganges and the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati at Allahabad, the Godawari at Nasik, and the Shipra at Ujjain.
Kumbh means a pitcher and Mela means fair in Hindi. The pilgrimage is held for about one and a half months at each of these four places where it is believed in Hinduism that drops of nectar fell from the Kumbh carried by gods after the sea was churned. The festival is billed as the “world’s largest congregation of religious pilgrims”. There is no scientific method of ascertaining the number of pilgrims, and the estimates of the number of pilgrims bathing on the most auspicious day may vary; approximately 80 million people attended on 14 February 2013.
Mauni Amavasya traditionally attracted the largest crowds at the mela, held here every 12 years. The current Kumbh Mela was held on 14 January 2013 at Allahabad.The day marked the second and the biggest Shahi Snan (royal bath) of this event, with 13 akharas taking to the Sangam. 10 Feb 2013 was the biggest bathing day at the ongoing Maha Kumbh Mela and probably the largest human gathering on a single day. Over 30 million devotees and ascetics took holy dip on the occasion of Mauni Amavasya..