On Kumbha Sankranti, the Sun is in a transitory phase and moves from Makar Rashi to Kumbha Rashi. Out of the twelve Sankranti that occur during a year, Kumbha Sankranti is the eleventh. Many communities across Eastern India celebrate Kumbha Sankranti with religious fervour. Kumbha Sankranti is also associated with Kumbh Mela which is one of the biggest and the most auspicious religious gathering in the world. Millions of people take a sacred bath in the Ganga River to remove all evil and sins of past and present.
The auspicious time of the day is quite limited and varies every year because of the position of the sun. People in Eastern India celebrate the festival with great joy. In the West Bengal it is the beginning of Falgun maas and as per the Malayalam calendar, the festival is known as Masi Masam. Devotees visit Holy cities of Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nasik to take a sacred bath in the Ganges and pray to the God for happiness and good fortune.
This occasion is closely related with the Kumbh Mela and devotees attach much importance to bathing in the Ganges. It is said that the holy dip purifies one’s soul, cures ailments and helps to obtain the divine blessings of Goddess Ganga. A person’s journey towards salvation gets easier by worshiping Goddess Ganga.
Many devotees visit Haridwar and Allahabad and offer prayers on the bank of Ganges. Several devotees take a holy dip in the waters of Godavari, Yamuna, Narmada and the Shipra, which are also considered holy rivers. Feeding cows are also considered an auspicious practice on this day.
Kumbh Mela was started during 629 CE at the time of King Harshvardhan. Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 12 years at Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain, and Nashik on the banks of rivers Ganga, Sangam of Ganga and Yamuna, Shipra and Godavari respectively. People take a dip in these holy rivers, and it is believed that it makes you free from all your sins and makes you pure.
Many people from all over the world attend the Kumbh Mela, people of all age groups, caste and region attend the Kumbh Mela. During the Kumbh Mela who so ever visits, takes a dip in the holy water with sheer devotion and dedication and meditate a lot as well. It is a medium to come closer to God. Every year thousands of pilgrims are increasing to visit the Kumbh Mela. It is also believed that one should visit the Kumbh Mela at least once in a lifetime.
The peace and tranquillity on bathing in the Ganges on Kumbha Sankranti are unmatched. Devotees get up early on Kumbha Sankranti and head to the bathing ghats to seek blessings from Goddess Ganga. After taking the holy bath, the devotees visit temples located on the banks of the ghats to pray for peace and happiness. Making offerings to cows is considered auspicious on Kumbha Sankranti. Monks and devotees alike bathe in the holy rivers and seek solace for their present and future lives. The holy dip taken in rivers is known as Sankramana Snana.