Hindu fasts and festivals are based on the lunar calender year, where 12 yearly months are divided into
two halves of 15 days each, half bright, half dark.
For the Kumbh Mela, the main bathing dates are:
9 January 2001 - Paush Purnima
The first bathing day. The full moon in the Hindu month of Pausha.
This is the last full moon of winter.
14 January 2001 - Makar Sankranti
Around 5 million pilgrims are already expected to have arrived.
According to Hindu Astrology, on this day the Sun enters the constellation
Capricorn. This is the first of the big bathing days and is counted as shahi shan.
This is one of the dates when the akharas (great congregations of sadhus)
conduct a royal (shahi) procession, that culminates with a dip in the Ganges (snan).
24 January 2001 - Mauni Amavasya- shahi shan
Around 8 million bathers are expected on this day.
This is "New Moon of the Saints". For the holy men and women this is their
main bathing day where they participate in the holy processions. It is also a day
when new members to holy monastic orders and different Sadhu sects receive
their first initiation.
29 January 2001 - Vasant Panchami- shahi shan
A peak of 30 million pilgrims will bathe on this day.
This is the last of the shahi shan. This is the fifth day of the bright half of the
lunar month and represents the beginning of spring (one of six seasons in
the Hindu year).
8 February 2001 - Magh Purnima
A good 17.5 million pilgrims with venture into the Holy River on this day.
This is the full moon in the month of Magha (January - February).
21 February 2001 - Mahashivratri
Today‚s celebrations are known as the "Great Night of Shiva". Shive is one
of the most revered Gods of the Sadhus. Shiva is understandibly important
to the Kumbh Mela as Hindus believe the Ganges flows from his long dreadlocks.
Furthermore, Shiva married Parvati, daughter of the Himalayas on this day.