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Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage.
The Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 4 years, the Ardh (half) Kumbh Mella is celebrated every six years at Haridwar and Prayag, the Purna (complete) Kumbh takes place every twelve years, at four places (Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik). The Maha (great) Kumbh Mela which comes after 12 'Purna Kumbh Melas', or 144 years, is held at Allahabad.

The last Ardh Kumbh Mela was held over a period of 45 days beginning in January 2007, more than 17 million Hindu pilgrims took part in the Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag, and on January 15, the most auspicious day of the festival of Makar Sankranti, more than 5 million participated

The last Maha Kumbh Mela, held in 2001, was attended by around 60 million people, making it the largest gathering anywhere in the world in recorded history

Timing
Kumbha Mela is a massive pilgrimage in which Hindus gather at the Ganges river. It is celebrated at different locations depending on the position of the planet of Brhaspati (Jupiter) and the sun. When Jupiter and the sun are in the zodiac sign Leo (Simha Rashi) it is held in Trimbakeshwar, Nashik; when the sun is in Aries (Mesha Rashi) it is celebrated at Haridwar; when Jupiter is in Taurus (Vrishabha Rashi ) and the sun is in Capricorn (Makar Rashi) Kumbh Mela is celebrated at Prayag; and Jupiter and the sun are in Scorpio (Vrishchik Rashi) the Mela is celebrated at Ujjain. Each site's celebration dates are calculated in advance according to a special combination of zodiacal positions of Sun, Moon, and Jupiter.

Recent Kumbh Melas
A procession of Akharas marching over a makeshift bridge over the Ganga river, Kumbh Mela at Allahabad, 2001
According to Paramahansa Yogananda in his work the Autobiography of a Yogi, it was on the Kumbha Mela in January 1894 at Prayag that his Guru Sri Yukteswar met Mahavatar Babaji for the first time.

2001: In 2001, Kumbh mela was held in Prayag. It is estimated that about 60 million people took a bath in the river Ganges on the occasion.
2003: When the Kumbh Mela was held in Nashik, India, from July 27 to September 7, 2003, 39 pilgrims (28 women and 11 men) were trampled to death and 57 were injured. Devotees had gathered on the banks of the Godavari river for the maha snaan or holy bath. Over 30,000 pilgrims were being held back by barricades in a narrow street leading to the Ram kund, a holy spot, so the sadhus could take the first ceremonial bath. Reportedly, a sadhu threw some silver coins into the crowd and the subsequent scramble led to the stampede.
2007: Every six years there is an Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag (also known as Allahabad).
2010: Haridwar is hosting the Purna Kumbha mela from Makar Sankranti (14 January 2010) to Shakh Purnima Snan (28 April 2010). Millions of Hindu pilgrims attended the mela. On April 14, 2010 alone approximately 10 million people bathed in the Ganges river. According to officials by mid April about 40 million people had bathed since January 14, 2010. Hundreds of foreigners joined Indian pilgrims in the festival which is thought to be the largest religious gathering the world. To accommodate the large number of pilgrims Indian Railways ran special trains. At least 5 people died in a stampede after clashes between holy men and devotees

Indian Space Research Organization took satellite pictures of the crowds with the hope of improving the conduct of the festival in the future.

Future Venues
» The Purna Kumbha Mela will again be held at Prayag in the year 2013 (Jan 27 to Feb 25)
» Nasik will host the Ardha Kumbha Mela in 2015 (August 15 to September 13)
» Ujjan Purna Kumbh Mela 2016 (Also Known as Simhasth @ Ujjain) (April 22 to May 21)
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