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When Is Kumbha Mela Celebrated?


The timing of the Kumbha Mela Hindu pilgrimages depends on the position of the planet Jupiter in the astrological zodiac. The timing of the pilgrimages is not evenly distributed within the 11 years and 315 days that Jupiter takes to complete one orbit around the sun.

Instead, pilgrimages are most favorable when Jupiter nears Aquarius, The solar cycles also play a key role in determining the timing of pilgrimages, making the process of setting the dates of pilgrimages a complicated process that is usually left to expert astrologers and the Naga Babas (naked yogis). Here is a basic sketch of the general timing associated with each phase of the celebration:

Prayag Pilgrimage

In the Hindu month of Magha (January-February), Jupiter is in either the constellation of Aries or Taurus and the sun and moon are in the constellation of Capricorn, which is nearly three years after the previous Haridwar pilgrimage.

Nashik Pilgrimage:

In the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (August-September), Jupiter and the sun are both in the constellation of Leo, three and a half years after the Prayag pilgrimage.

Ujjain Pilgrimage

In the Hindu month of Vaisakha (April-May), either Jupiter is in the constellation of Leo and the sun is in Aries or Jupiter; or the sun and the moon are in the constellation of Libra . This pilgrimage occurs less than a year after the Nashik pilgrimage.

Haridwar Pilgrimage

In the Hindu month of Caitra (March-April), Jupiter is in the constellation of Aquarius and the sun is in the constellation of Aries, almost six years after the Ujjain pilgrimage.
 

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