Simhastha (Nashik) Kumbh Mela is the largest congregation of faith in the world, began today the 14th July 2015, with the traditional ceremony of hoisting of flags and thousands of people taking a holy dip in Kushawart and Ramkund in Godavari river in the two towns of Trimbakeshwar and Nashik. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and state Women and Child Welfare minister Pankaja Munde presided over the ceremony as chief guests in Trimbakeshwar, while Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis presided at the Nashik ceremony.
After the flag hoisting ceremony, thousands of people who have come from different parts of the country took a dip at Kushavart teerth (pond) located near the temple of Lord Shiva.
The festival is known as the largest gathering, which occurs once in 12 years as per Hindu calendar and is marked by participation of 'sadhus' from different denominations (akhadas) and lakhs of devotees. Kumbh is known for the religious pomp and colourful processions. The festival will last for 58 days till August 11. "This is not a common dip but the dip of immense faith which washes away all the sins and brings good luck," said Jayant Shikhre, chairman of Trimbakeshwar Purohit Sangh.
The shahi snan (royal bath), when seers of various 'akharas' take dip in river in large numbers through a procession, in Trimbakeshwar are on August 29, September 13 and 25. Nearly three lakh seers are expected to be in Nashik and Trimbakeshwar for the religious jamboree.
Nashik-Trimbakeshwar hosts Kumbh Mela, when the Sun and Jupiter come together in Leo ('Simha') zodiac sign in the month of Magh as per the Hindu calender. Kumbh Mela is held at Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayag), Nashik and Ujjain. The Hindu mythology says that, the drops of nectar fell from the 'kumbha' (pitcher) carried by gods (after the sea was churned) at these four places and bathing in the river in these places during this period is considered to 'cleanse' all the sins.
Nashik sahdu-gram mainly houses the followers of Vaishnav sects and Nirmohi, Nirwani and Digambar akhadas, Trimbakeshwar is home for Shaiva sect, including Naga sadhus.
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