Places where Kumbh Mela are organized: Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain, Nasik
Dates for Kumbh Mela: Exact date is determined on the basis of a combination of zodiac positions of the Jupiter, the Sun and the Moon. At Nashik and Ujjain, the Mela (Fair) is held while a planet is in Leo (or Simha in Hindu astrology). This is why in Ujjain and Nashik it is referred to as Simhastha.
Highlights: Kumbh is a mass Hindu pilgrimage in which Hindus gather to take dip in a sacred river. Devotional singing, spiritual discussions, religious gatherings, and mass feeding of holy men and women and the poor are the highlights of the fair.
Description: Kumbh Mela assumes immense importance among the people in India and is the only festival that occurs once every twelve years. According to medieval Hindu mythology, Lord Vishnu dropped drops of amrita (the drink of immortality) at four places, while transporting it in a kumbha (pot). These four places are identified as the present-day sites of the Kumbh Mela – Haridwar, Allahabad, Ujjain and Nashik. These four places are located near rivers.
The main festival site in Haridwar is located on the banks of Ganges River. Main festival site in Allahabad is located on the confluence of Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati, the invisible river. Main site in Nashik is located on the banks of Godavari River and that in Ujjain is located on the banks of Shipra River. Bathing in these rivers is supposed to cleanse a person of all sins. Shedding of sins is perceived important by Hindus to attain moksha (enlightenment).
Kumbha Mela has become a big center of attraction for visitors also. A spectacle, as large as this fair, is unparalleled anywhere else in the world.