Kumbh Mela is a feature-rich congregation of people with spiritual growth in mind. The fair is also recognized by UNESCO.
There are many types of saints in Kumbh Mela-
- Naga Sadhu
Satsangs are an essential movement to take a gander in every Kumbh.
Besides the ritualistic activities, Akhada or Akhara is a popular characteristic of it. Akhada is a Hindi expression for a wrestling ring. These are the group of Naga saints and yogis formed around the 8th century. Hindus shaped these associations to shield their religion from outside intruders.
Akhadas or Sanghs in Kumbh Mela are more sweltering than Jennifer Lawrence. So, let us have insight on the Akhadas in Kumbh Mela 2019 in the following sections.
There are 3 communities of Hindu religion-
- Shaiv or Sanyasi Akhara- They are the supporters of Lord Shiva. Most 7 akhadas have a place with Shaiv community.
- Bairagi or Vaishnav Akhara- The community venerates Lord Vishnu. Three akhadas of saints comes under Vaishnav Akhara.
- Udaseen sampraday
Acharya Mahamandaleshwar is the chief of akhadas. The hierarchy progresses to Mahamandaleshwaras, Mandaleshwaras, and Shree Mahants. An election is held every 4th year to form a five-member managing body.
Each of the above community, in general, includes 13 orders which take part in every Maha Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh. These are as follows-
- Mahanirvani Akhada – It is one of three fundamental Akhadas in Kumbh Mela 2019. Panchayati mahanirvani Akhada of Allahabad belong to Shaiva faction. It was formed in Samvat 805 in the year 671 in Baijnath Dham, Jharkhand. The favored god is “Shri Kapil Mahamuni”. They preach Holy Scriptures as well as practice weapons. Protecting Hinduism and their religious place is the sole duty of Mahanirvani Akhada. They carry the tradition of worshipping Mahakaleshwar Jyotirling from years.Atal akhara is the secondary Akhada of Mahanirvani. It has no Mahamandelshwar till now and Acharya position is the highest. Only Brahmins, Vaishya, and Kshatriya can get initiation in Atal Akhara. Their reverential God is Lord Ganpati.
- Niranjani Akhada – Niranjani is a Shaiva Akhada and was built up in the year 904 in Mandvi, Gujarat. It is headquartered in Prayagraj. Their devoted god is “Kartik Swami”. Till now the Akhada has more than 10000 Naga sadhus, 33 Mahamandelshwar, and more than a thousand mahants & Shree mahant. Niranjani Akada is the most perused camp. About 70% of sanyasis include IITians, doctors, advocates, professors, and Sanskrit laureates.Shri Anand Akhara established in Samvat 912 is a subsidiary of Niranjani Akhada.
- Shri Panch Atal Akhara- Shri Panch Atal Akhara from Varanasi belongs to Shaiva sect. Only Brahmins, Vaishyas, and Kshatriyas can join this arena.
- Taponidhi Shri Anand Akhara Panchayti – The arena from Nasik was formed in 1846. It is the only order where there is no Mahamandaleshwar and instead this Shaiva Akhara is led by Acharya Gyananandji.
- Shri Panchdashnaam Juna Akhada – It is the biggest order of 5 lakh Naga sadhus which is known to guard Sanatan Dharma. This Shaiva Akhara from Kashi, Varanasi was founded in 1146 CE. Mahant Hari Giri is the principal benefactor of Juna Akhada. The order has 2 auxiliary Akhadas, viz, Avahan Akhada and Agni Akhada. Juna Akhada recently went in the news when it baptized a 32-year old Dalit man as Mahamandelshwar. It will be one of the three akhadas of the procession in the inaugural ceremony of Kumbh Mela 2019.
- Shri Panchdashnaam Aavahan Akhara – This is a sanyasi akhara from Varanasi. There is no tradition to give initiation to women siddhis.
- Shri Panchdashnaam Panchagni Akhara – The arena where only Brahmins can take initiation belongs to Junagadh, Gujarat. It was established in 1058 on the 11th day of Hindu month Ashadh. The favored deity of Panchagni Akhara is Goddess Gayatri.
- Shri Digambar Ani Akhara- This Akhada is king of Vaishnav sect. The root of Digambar Ani Akhara lies in Sambharkantha, Gujarat. It has the highest number of Khalsas (431) in it.
- Shri Nirvani Ani Akhara – It is a major akhada of Vaishnav community and is divided into 9 subsidiaries. The arena was established in Ayodhya. The arena has many professional wrestlers included in it; hence wrestling is an important part of it.
- Shri Nirmohi Ani Akhara – It is a Vaishnav akhada. It includes 9 subsidiary akharas. Shri Nirmohi Ani Akhara hails from Mathura.
- Shri Panchayati Bada Udaseen Akhara – Udaseen cult is a Sikh-sadhu community who believe in Sanatan dharm. Panchayti Bada Udaseen Akhara was founded in Akhara Samvat 1844 in 1910. The Akahada engages in service, their 4 mahants serves humanity. Panchayti Bada Udaseen Akhara is from Prayag (Allahabad).
- Shri Panchayati Akhara Naya Udaseen – This Kankhal Haridwar’s akhada provides an initiation to 8-12 years kids and convert them to Naga Sadhus. It was promoted by Mahant Sudhir Dasji.
- Shri Nirmal Panchayati Akhara – Founded in 1918 in 1784 by Shri Durga Singh Maharaj in Kankhal Haridwar. They don’t have permission to smoke and the warning for the same is written on the gate of akhada.
Their branches of the above akhadas are spread over many other religious towns of India.
The Kumbh Mela begins with a procession of marching Naga Sanyasis. It includes caparisoned elephants, camels, horses, and the mahants sitting on a silver palanquin.
Akhadas to watch out for in Allahabad Kumbh Mela
Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 grows in size, not only area but also with the introduction of new Akhadas. Transgender seers will take part for the first time in Kumbh Mela this year. The Kinnar Akhada will be a self-proclaimed order and includes 2500 transgender. Akhada aims in spreading awareness of the condition of Kinnars after parting Section 377. It is struggling to gain recognition by Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad.
Mahamandaleshwar Laxmi Narayan Tripathi will lead the Akahada.
Pari Akhada is also known as Mahadeo Vaikumthdham Muktidwar Akhara Pari. It is one of the controversial arenas added in 2014. Jagatguru Shankaracharya Trikal Bhavanta is the head of this all-women sect.
Allahabad Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019 provides myriad experiences and has much to discover. Special tours are planned for the Ardh Kumbh Prayagraj. Book a travel package to Kumbh Mela 2019 online and find true pleasure.