Tracing Kumbh legends in the holy city of Nasik
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Tracing Kumbh legends in the holy city of Nasik

Nasik, where Simhasta Kumbh Mela was inaugurated on Wednesday, has a special place on the spiritual map of India.

india Updated: Jul 30, 2003 18:06 IST

Nasik city, where the Simhasta Kumbh Mela was inaugurated on Wednesday with the dhwaja rohan(flag hoisting), has a special importance on the spiritual map of India.

Ancient scriptures, particularly the purans, are replete with legends emphasising the significance of the city, situated on the banks of Godavari, and neighbouring Trimbakeshwar, enshrining one of the 12 jyotirlingas near the source of the river.

The Kumbh Mela, held at Nasik when the Jupiter enters the zodiac sign of Leo and thereby earning the name Simhastha, is considered special amongst those held at Allahabad (Prayag), Hardwar and Ujjain every 12 years.

The Garud Puran, Atharva Puran and other Hindu texts mention the origin of the Kumbh (pitcher) Mela to Lord Indra's attempt to regain his glory following a curse by sage Durvasa through amrit (elixir) churned from the celestial ocean (Ksheera Sagar).

The amrit fell at several places while the Gods were fleeing with the pitcher, thereby making these places holy.

According to legends, Durvasa, during a visit to Indra's capital Amravati, honoured the king of Gods with a garland of never-wilting flowers. However, Indra passed it to Airavat, his elephant, who crushed it under his feet. Enraged over it, Durvasa cursed Indra, divesting him of all his wealth and possessions.

The devas (Gods) were weakened by the curse and Indra was advised by Lord Vishnu -- the sustainer of the universe, to attain amrit for regaining his power and glory.

The devas and danavas (demons), though arch enemies, banded together to churn amrit from the depth of the ocean. Thus ensued the Samudra Manthan, churning of the ocean, from which also came out 14 ratnas (gems).

Finally Lord Vishnu, in the form ofMohini (the mesmerising female), came out with a pitcher(kumbh) of amrit. The devas and danavas then scrambled for it.

However, Mohini passed it on to Garuda, Vishnu's divine vehicle, to take it to heaven. In hot pursuit, the demons arrested Garud's flight, ane it spilled the amrit at four places -- Prayag (present day Allahabad), Hardwar, Ujjain and Nasik-Trimbakeshwar -- sanctifying them eternally.

First Published: Jul 30, 2003 18:06 IST