Legend or Myth of Kumbh Mela



There are two important stories regarding the origin of Kumbh Mela. Both of them are traced back to the Puranas. The most important and widely accepted myth starts in the Bhagavatha Purana.

Puranas are filled with wars between Devas (demigods) and Asuras (demons). The Devas always have the upper hand but occasionally due to some curse or misdeeds the Devas lose this upper hand.

Lord Indra, the king of Devas, was once cursed by Sage Durvasa and as the result of this curse, Demons overpowered the Devas.

To find a solution the Devas approached Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu advised them to obtain Amrut - ‘the nectar of immortality.’

To obtain the Amrut the Devas should churn the ocean. Mandara Mountain agreed to be the churning rod and Vasuki, the serpent agreed, to be the rope. To churn the ocean the Devas needed the help of Asuras as the Devas could only hold one-end of the rope. But Devas was not willing to share the Amrut with Asuras. Finally, without any other choice the Devas agreed to share the Amrut with the Asuras.

Churning started and the ocean started to yield divine gifts. Amrut was the last to appear. Dhanvantari, the physician of the gods, appeared with Amrut. The Asuras took the Amrut and started to run away. A fight between the Devas and Asuras ensued.

All the myths associated with Kumbh Mela are the same till this point. But the story changes from this point in different myths.

First Version

In Skanda Purana, it is suggested that Indra’s son Jayanta got hold of the Amrut during the fight between the Devas and Asuras. He started to run away with it. The demons started to chase Jayanta around the earth. The chase lasted for 12 days or 12 human years. One day of devas is equal to one human year. During this time, the nectar spilled at Allahabad, Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain.

Second Version

This legend of Kumbha Mela appears in Vishnu Purana, Brahmananda Purana, Padma, Agni PuranaMahabharata Ramayana. It suggests that as soon as Dhanvantari appeared with Amrut, Lord Vishnu passed it to Garuda – the mythical bird and vehicle of Lord Vishnu. Asuras chased Garuda for 12 days or 12 human years. And Garuda stopped or the nectar spilled at Allahabad, Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain.


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