Kumbh Festival is a famous and important festival of the Hindu religion. In this festival lakh of devotees take bath in the holy river at the places of the Kumbh Mela that are Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. It is held at these places every twelfth year. In Haridwar and Prayag there is another smaller Kumbh Festival between the two bigger ones.
There are many ancient stories associated with the Kumbh Mela and the most famous ones are those of the Gods and devils and the Samudra Manthan (which was the churning of the ocean). According to this story, Maharishi Durvasa cursed God Indra and the other gods who became powerless. Taking the opportunity the devils attacked the Gods and won. Then all the Gods went to God Vishnu and told him everything. He advised them to churn the ocean along with the devils and get the nectar of immortality. On hearing this, the Gods patched up with the devils and they together started the proceedings of the Samudra Manthan.
As soon as the nectar of immortality surfaced on the ocean, God Indra’s son Jayant flew with it in the sky when he saw the other Gods signaling him and on the orders of the devils Guru Shukracharaya, the devils also flew in the sky to get back the nectar. They followed Jayant and caught him in the middle of the way. After that the devils and Gods fought for 12 days and during this fight a few drops of the nectar fell in Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik. And to protect the nectar the lands were protected by Moon, Sun, Saturn and Jupiter so that the devils couldn’t reach it. To stop the fight going on, God Vishnu took the form of Mohini and divided the Nectar equally among the Gods and the fight came to an end.
The Gods and devils had fought for twelve days which are twelve years for humans.
Hence, there are twelve Kumbh Melas also. Out of which four are on the earth.