The Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha Kumbh Mela began on 14 July 2015. The year-long festival will end 11 August 2016.
The festival, known as largest peaceful gathering in the world, began with the traditional ceremony of hoisting of flags and thousands of people taking a holy dip in Kushawart and Ramkund in Godavari River in Nashik and Trimbakeshwar.
The ceremony at Trimbakeshwar was presided over by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and state Women and Child Welfare minister Pankaja Munde as chief guests, while Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis presided over Nashik ceremony.
To mark the festival, the civic body has set up 'Sadhu-Gram' over 315 acres in Nashik and temporary tent-town is being supplied with toilets, 24-hour drinking water, LPG cylinders and electricity. Railways have decided to run 12 super-fast special trains between Nashik Road and Howrah on account of the Mela.
Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha Kumbh Mela is held once in 12 years when the Sun and Jupiter come together in Leo zodiac sign in the month of Magha as per the Hindu calendar.
Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred river. It is held every third year at one of the four places by rotation: Haridwar, Allahabad (Prayaga), Nashik and Ujjain. Thus the Kumbh Mela is held at each of these four places every twelfth year.
The rivers at these four places are: the Ganga at Haridwar, the confluence (Sangam) of the Ganges and the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati at Allahabad, the Godawari at Nashik, and the Shipra at Ujjain.
Ardha (Half) Kumbh Mela is held at only two places, Haridwar and Allahabad, every sixth year.
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When: 14 July 2015