Most significant days during the Kumbh Festival
Makar Sankranti is one of the most sacred festivals and is celebrated in almost all parts of the country in myriad cultural forms, great devotion, fervor and gaiety. According to the lunar calendar, when the sun moves from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn or from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana, in the month of Poush in mid-January, The movement of the earth from one zodiac sign into another is called Sankranti and as the Sun moves into the Capricorn zodiac known as Makar in Hindi, this occasion is named as Makar Sankranti in the Indian context. A Holy bath during this period carries special significance. Those who take a holy bath in the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri acquire pious credits .
The day occurs when the moon is full in the Hindu month of Paush. This is the last full moon of winter. By this time, the sadhu and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims arrive at the Kumbh Mela. By the day, more pilgrims come to attend the festival in buses, trains and on foot. Each day from now on the population of Kumbhnagari (Kumbh City) doubles.
Mauni Amavasya Snan
On this day, the Sun and the Moon enters into the Capricorn sign. A vow of complete silence is observed on this day known as Maun Vrat. It is believed to be the day when the universe was created. For the holy men and women, this is the main bathing day. New members to various holy monastic orders receive their first initiation on this day. More than fifty million people bathe in the holy waters during the Mauni Amavasya.
Basant Panchami Snan
On this day, Mata Saraswati is worshiped. Basant Panchami, or Saraswati Puja is a festival that represents the arrival of Vasant Ritu (Spring Season). This is the fifth day of the luminous half of the lunar month and is the beginning of spring in North India. Traditionally people wear yellow on this day. It is the day when people pray to the gods for a good bumper harvest.
Rath Saptami Snan
Ratha Saptami is a highly auspicious occasion dedicated to Lord Surya, the Sun God in Hinduism. Lord Surya, depicted riding a chariot driven by seven horses, is worshipped on this day. Rath Saptami festival is observed on the seventh day of Shukla Paksha in the Magh Month (January – February) in the traditional Hindu calendar.
Bhishma Ekadasi Snan
The Vishnu Sahasranama Stothram (thousand names dedicated to Lord Vishnu) was revealed to the Pandavas on this day by Bhishma when the latter was lying in a bed of arrows after the great war of Mahabharata. On this day, Bhishma Pithamaha, the oldest, wisest, most powerful and most righteous person belonging to the Kuru dynasty (approx. over 5000 years ago), narrated the greatness of Lord Krishna through Sri Vishnu Sahasranama to Yudhishtira, the oldest brother of Pandavas.