Ardh Kumbh Mela in Haridwar
My attempt to explain the timing of the Ardh Kumbh Mela:
Haridwar is the place for the well-known Kumbh Mela. Kumbh Mela is a Hindu religious gathering which is celebrated for forty days and is the biggest religious ceremony in the world; “Kumbh Mela” translates to “Festival of Urn”. At any given place, the Kumbh Mela is held once in 12 years. There is a difference of around 3 years between the Kumbh Melas at each of four locations. The exact date is determined according to a combination of zodiac positions of the Jupiter, the Sun and the Moon. The Purna Kumbh Mela, the biggest and the most auspicious fair, occurs every twelve years and is organized in rotation among four places where drops of the sacred nectar spilled over: Allahabad (Prayag), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik. A mass pilgrimage for the Hindu community of India, the Kumbh Mela is rumored to be one of the largest congregation of sages, yogis, ascetics, mendicants, men, women and children on the planet. But every sixth year after a Purna Kumbh Mela, an Ardh Kumbh Mela takes place. In the Hindi language the word “Ardh” stands for “half” and “Mela” means “fair”. The “Ardh Kumbh Mela” is called so because it is held at the sixth year and marks the halfway stage between the celebration of the Purna Kumbh Melas every 12 years. The Ardh Mela takes place at Haridwar & Allahabad only. And then there is the mother of all Kumbhs, the Maha Kumbh Mela which happens once every 144 years.
OK, I think they are drinking way too much spilled sacred nectar…