It is fabled a drop of Amrit (nectar) which grants immortality fell from the kumbh ( urn ) at the RAM KUND, Nashik.
The Urn was carried by Garuda ( the king of serpent eagles and vehicle of Lord Vishnu) .
I am writing with the hope that the article is read by a vast number of people and my travelogue motivates them to go to the Sinhastha Kumbh. The Kumbh is happening as I write and the fair will continue till the end of September 2015.
I was not even aware, let alone go to one, of the significance of the Kumbh Melas till about 3 years ago.Thereafter it has been a never ending educational journey . The Kumbh is a must visit for people from all walks of life. ( believers or non believers, Hindus and non Hindus) It is a chance of a lifetime to witness and learn about this massive upsurge of humanity.
It is a literary congregation/festival of scholars , sadhus and priests besides millions of people.
It is a religious fair held once in 12 years when the Sun and Jupiter enter the constellation of “Leo”, the Lion. ( Singha is Lion in Hindi) .
A unique fact about the Nashik Kumbh is that it is held simultaneously at two locations, Ram Kund at Nashik and Trymbakeshwar ( 30 kms from Nashik) .
Thus we will go to both , we go first to the Ram Kund which is in the heart of the charming city of Nashik.
Panchvati, Nashik ( location of the Ram Kund) is a historic site as it is supposed to be the place where Lakshman cuts the nose of Supranakha, hence the the name NASHIK.
( please read the epic Ramayan)
The antique panel above is located at the base of the Ram Stambh( pillar) located at Panchvati near the Ram Kund. You have to look for it. I was lucky to spot it as a priest was there offering flowers.
The U shaped mark is the symbol of Lord Vishnu and can be seen at Tirupathi in particular. The flight of stairs descends to the ghats and Ram Kund where you take the traditional dip to wash away your sins.
The Stambh or Pillar also marks the centre of Panchvati where Lord Ram lived for two and half years with Sita and Lakshman.
It is interesting that a temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwar is located a few minutes away from this site.
Small temples are located under trees along the river banks and even in the midst of the river. Mythology, nature and religion form a beautiful amalgamation.
Millions have come and gone bound in the faith that a dip in these waters will atone all sins of the past. I too took a dip with thousands of others and symbolically offered the water to the Sun God.
The closest natural event to the Kumbh is the migration in far away Africa.The lady has traveled 1500 kms with her ailing husband to carry the holy waters in her urn ( kumbh) made of brass.
Do see the kumbh ( urn) in the foreground
Trees temples and people all merge. Man and woman exist in all symbolized by Ardhanareshwar. Only the two combined can complete the picture .
Trees are revered and you will observe people pray to them too.Even God’s creations are worshiped.
There are numerous bridges across the river.The temple is unique as the the first rays of the sun touch the feet of the ruling deity, the Creator Lord Vishnu on the 21st of March .
The sun has set, and I sign off with two captivating images of the Kumbh Mela.
Nandiji on the banks of the RAM KUND
We now head to the second half of the Kumbh at Trymbakeshwar.