INDIA, July 14, 2015 (DailyO): All roads will lead to Nashik for the next two months as the Nashik Kumbh Mela was officially inaugurated by the Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union home minister Rajnath Singh. Marked by the chanting of hymns and pujas, the opening was held in two spots, around 25 miles apart — one in Trimbakeshwar and the other in Nashik, along the banks of the Godavari river. The mega holy gathering begins on July 14 and will go on till September 18. Undoubtedly one of the biggest religious congregations, which is held once in 12 years, the kumbh mela, this year, is set to draw in 30 million devotees, pilgrims and tourists to the city of Nashik, often recognised as an important pilgrimage town for Hindus. Besides its religious and social significance, this year’s mela is marked by interesting initiatives that boost tourism and help in the brand building exercise. In 2009, the state government had allocated a budget of over US$363 million for the kumbh mela preparations, ranging from roads development to arrangements for the pilgrims, security measures and waste management initiatives.
Believers and religious scholars say that when Gods and demons were fighting over the sacred nectar, Lord Vishnu flew away with the pot of nectar spilling a few drops at four different places– Haridwar, Nasik, Ujjain and Prayag. The Kumbh mela is held at these spots. The celebration of Kumbh Mela and its location depends on the position of Jupiter. It is said that when Jupiter and sun fall on the zodiac sign of Leo, the Kumbh Mela is celebrated at Trimbakeshwar in Nasik. The mela is marked by religious rites and rituals, devotional music and a gathering of sadhus. The kumbh mela also attracts non-believers who want to experience or document the gathering.