Kumbh Mela is a holy time for many Hindus where millions are expected to take part in one of the world’s largest religious gatherings by the Ganges river. The festival brings millions of pilgrims to the Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers in India, to take a dip in the holy waters.
The festival lasts for about one and a half months, and include several auspicious bathing days. In 2015, the first auspicious day of bathing falls on Aug. 26, in the northern city of Nashik. The last holy day of bathing occurs on Sept. 25. Pilgrims have been coming en mass to bathe in the Ganges for at least 2,500 years.
The festival derives its name from a Hindu belief that gods and demons fought over a pitcher, or “kumbh,” of nectar that would give them immortality. The myth says one of the gods ran off with the pot, spilling four drops of nectar. Every three years, festivals are rotated among the four spots where nectar was said to have spilled.
For millions of devotees participating in the 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 symbolized by the Kumbh or pitcher.