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Akharas: The Integral Part of Kumbh Mela

Posted on 12-04-2020 | by: admin

Millions of people across the globe take part in the largest gathering of mankind, Kumbh Mela. Everything about the event is unbelievable but a treat to your eye. Still, it is the Akharas that hypnotize you with its philosophy and religious observance.

What are the Akharas?

The Akhara culture came into existence in 8th century AD when Adi Shankaracharya founded seven Akharas such as Mahanirvani, Niranjani, Juna, Atal, Avahan, Agni and Anand Akhara to brace Hindu Sanatan Dharma, unite the saints who believe and practice the customs.

The akharas were also established to protect Hinduism from the invaders. Later the seven akharas divide into 13 according to the belief and ideologies and the God they worship.

The Shaiva Akharas are the followers of Lord Shiva, Vaishnava are the followers of Lord Vishnu and the Kalpwasis are the followers of Lord Brahma. One akhara is again divided into 8 davas or divisions and 53 Marhis or centers. Each of these Marhi accomplishes their spiritual and religious activities under the guidance of their Mahant under an administrative body known as Shree Panch who mainly represents Lord Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti, and Lord Ganesh.

The Juna Akhara is the biggest among all followed by the Niranjani and Mahanirvani. In every Akhara the Acharya Mahamandaleshwar is the leader and Mahamandaleshwar and Shree Mahants works under their guidance. On the eve of Kumbh Mela, the saints of these akharas turn up to the bathing ghat along with a magnificent procession and take a dip in the holy river and then only the devotees take a bath.

Different Akharas and Their Significance

Below we have explored the different types of Akharas.

Juna Akhara

Juna Akhara is one of the biggest akharas in the magnificent Kumbh Mela and it is popular for the mysterious Naga Sadhus. Their worshiping deity is Lord Dattatreya and formerly known as Bhairav Akhara as well. The religious city Varanasi is the headquarter of Juna Akhara.

Niranjani Akhara

Niranjani Akhara is another popular akhara in the Kumbh and established in 904 A.D. it is the second-largest akhara in India right after the Juna Akhara. Lord Kartikeya is the presiding deity of Niranjani Akhara and the headquarter of this Akhara is in Prayagraj or Allahabad.

Mahanirvani Akhara

Mahanirvani Akahara is another crucial akhara in the Kumbh Mela who has a five-member body for the administration. They worship Kapilmuni Maharaj and their heritage is more than ten thousand years old. The akhara was established in 748 C.E by seven sadhus of Atal akhara. Mahanirvani akhara is among the three major Shastradhari akharas out of seven.

Atal Akhara

Atal akhara is one of the ancient akharas in the country who worship Lord Ganesh. The akhara allows only Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas to this akhara. Atal akhara organizes the swearing-in ceremony of Naga sadhus during the Shahi Snan. The Atal akhara has its base in Varanashi.

Avahan Akhara

According to a belief, Avahan akhara was the first to heed to Adi Shankaracharya for the formation of such arenas for strengthening Hindu dharma. Avahan akhara worships lord Shri Dattatreya and Shri Gajanan and their headquarter is in Haridwar.

Anand Akhara

This is another oldest akhara of Hindu saints whose presiding deity is Dev Bhuwan Bhaskar Suryanarayan.

Nirmohi Akhara

The Nirmohi Akhara was set up at Haridwar in the year 1720 and they are the Vaishnavas. They usually worship Lord Hanuman and the Shree panch members control the akhara under their guidance.

The akharas are an integral part of the Kumbh Mela and they follow quite similar values, customs, and ideologies irrespective of their presiding deity. They are also proficient in artillery and scriptures. Last but not least all the akharas discussed here possess exceptional religious as well as historical significance. Their arrival at the Kumbh Mela through a Peshwai procession provides you a surreal experience and a satiate you with consummate sanctity. So just land up on the holy cities of India and go with the flow to catch a glimpse of the biggest cultural heritage.

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