As per Hindu mythology, ocean churning (Samudra Manthan) happened between Gods and Demons to find the nectar of immortality (Amrit). Nectar was needed to regain the lost strength of Gods due to a curse on them. But as soon as the pot of nectar (Amrit Kalash) was found after ocean churning, fight ensued between Gods and Demons to grab the nectar. Battle went on for twelve days and twelve nights (considered as twelve years for humans). During that battle Lord Vishnu flew away to heaven with the pot of nectar. Few drops of nectar spilled on earth. So Kumbh is held at four places where nectar drops fell. Those four sacred spots for Kumbh are Haridwar, Prayag, Nasik and Ujjain.
Kumbh in India is held every 12 years. Astrological calculations for Kumbh are related to star alignments of Sun, Moon and Jupiter. Hereby, Sun denotes soul, Moon is mind and Jupiter denotes teacher. Teacher (Guru) is considered supreme in Hindu mythology. As Jupiter completes its zodiac cycle in 12 years so Kumbh is celebrated after twelve years at one of the four sacred places. Date of Kumbh to any of these places depends upon the Zodiac sign.
Kumbh is held at Haridwar when Jupiter enters in zodiac sign Aquarius, Sun and Moon are in Aries. Kumbh is held at Prayag when Jupiter enters zodiac sign Taurus, Sun and Moon are in Capricorn. Kumbh is held at Nasik when Jupiter enters zodiac sign Leo, Sun and Moon are in Cancer. Kumbh is held at Ujjain when Jupiter enters zodiac sign Leo, Sun and Moon are in Aries.
I participated in royal dip on Shahi Snan day but my perception of such holy dip was different. I did not bathe in sacred pool but had highest regard for this ancient tradition. I took few drops of holy water from sacred pool and applied on my forehead. That way I felt spiritual vibrations touching my soul.
I met few saints in caves on higher reaches of Trimbakeshwar. I met mahants, swamiji (holy men) from different ashrams and akharas (religious institutions) to seek out more on the significance of Kumbh. I was also curious to know their views on religion, spirituality and humanity. They were gracious enough to let me spend ample time with them, raise my points and discuss in detail.
I have no exaggeration in saying that my discussions with holy men were very fruitful. I found most of them very learned and witty. They were blessed with divinity. I may not be fully enlightened after my interactions with saints and sages but I am richer, spiritually. And I am a happier person today.
To have extensive study and more pics pl read series on My Kumbh Journey.