This Kumbh is unique as Vaishnav Akhadas and Shaiva Akhadas which bath together at Prayag, Haridwar and Ujjain, baths separately here. As a result of arrangements made by the Peshwas due to clashes between ascetics of both sects , Vaishnva Akhadas baths at Nashik and Shaiva or Sanyasis, Udasin Akhadas baths at Trimbakeshwar.
Nashik is believed to be the part of Dandakaranya, where Lord Rama lived during his exile. Trimbakeshwar is one of the twelve Jyotirlingas. The sacred river Godavari originates here on Bramhagiri hills. Trimbakeshwar is having Samadhi of shri sant Nivruttinath who is supposed to be founder of Nath Sampradaya.
Kumbh is a Sanskrit word for pitcher, also referred to as the Kalasha. Kumbh is also a zodiac sign in Indian Astrology for Aquarius. Mela means a gathering or meet or simply a fair. The literal meaning of Kumbh /Ghata is a pitcher, but its elemental meaning is something else. Even as a symbol of pitcher, Kumbh is synonymous with holy activities as in daily life a pitcher (or kalash) is an integral part of all sacred activities in Hindu culture, and this pitcher is a symbol of Kumbh. It is believed and mentioned in Holy Scriptures that mouth (opening) of pitcher symbolizes the presence of Vishnu, its neck that of Rudra, the base of Brahama, all goddesses in the centre and the entire oceans in the interior, thus encompassing all the four Vedas.. The Sanskrit word for Kumbh also means human body . It refers to a womb, bounty,earth, plentitude. It is a receptacle that holds life, spirits, water , Amrita,the elixir. The pitcher ,sea,river, ponds and the well are symbols of Kumbh as the water from these places is covered from all sides. The sky has the cover of the wind, the sun covers the entire universe with its light, and the human body is covered with cells and tissues. The five tatvas / elements – water, earth,fire,sky and wind symbolize the human body. Millions of devotees participate in bathing festival of Kumbh in search of eternal truth which is hidden inside the pitcher. They are bathing to discover one’s own true self, to have a glimpse of knowledge and spirituality which is symbolised by the Kumbh or pitcher.
Elemental Meaning of Kumbh
Kumbh is the confluence of all our cultures,knowledge and spirituality. It is the jamboree of renouncers ( Sanyasis, Vairagis, Udasinas), ascetics (sadhus), saints and holy men to spread the love , unity, knowledge, brotherhood, spirituality. All these values are poured from kumbh, a pot filled with nectar of life, and this kumbh never dries or goes empty. Kumbh make us realize the importance of nature, mother earth through the lyrical flow of holy rivers. It is symbol of confluence of nature and humanity. It rejuvenates the faith and gives eternal energy to our mind and body as Kumbh which never dries.
Earlier the shape of kumbh festival was small. Number of Devotees and Sadhus participating in Kumbhmela are increasing by many folds than the previous Kumbh at each place. Development of infrastructural facilities like transport , modes of communication , etc has facilitated Sadhus and Devotees across the corner of world to participate in Kumbh. It is just not a congregation of peoples or fair, instead it is festival of knowledge, spirituality, asceticism and devotion. Facilities like Sadhugram- dwelling camp, parking, health &sanitation, electric supply and water supply are provided on temporarily for millions of Devotees and Sadhus. Devotees come a long way to participate in Kumbh with utmost faith and with intend of earning holy acts. They are eager to have glimpse of Shahi procession of Akhadas.
Many people come to Kumbh for rendering service to the Sadhus and Devotees , run annachatras, make donations as well as volunteered for services like health, sanitation, divers/life guards etc. The Government and Administration has to also work minutely on each and every aspect of kumbh for the convenience of Sadhus and Devotees.