Kumbh 2021

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KUMBH 2021

The ancient festival of Kumbha is celebrated in Haridwar once in twelve years when the planet Jupiter enters the Aquarius zodiac mansion. Earth takes 365 days time to move around Sun while Jupiter takes twelve year to do so. Hundreds of millions of persons participate with this festival.

Spiritual Philately During Haridwar Kumbh 2021

AZIMVTH Ashram released a set of spiritual artworks in the form of 8 picture postcards with matching covers on the theme of Haridwar Maha Kumbh 2021 and COVID-19.

Rajsik Snan (Royal Bath)
The Kumbh festival lasts for many months. Although it is auspicious to have ritual bathing and dips during the entire period, some days are known to be more special. These are days of special and Royal Baths. For Haridwar Kumbh 2021, the special bathing days were –

14 January 2021 – Makar Sankranti, Solstice, Sun enters the Capricorn zodiac.
11 February 2021 – Mauni Amavasya, the last no Moon night of the Hindu year.
16 February 2021 – Vasant Panchami, heralding spring.
11 March 2021 – Maha Shivratri, the great night of Lord Shiva.

12 April 2021 – Somvati Amavasya, Lord Shiva’s no-Moon night on a Monday.
14 April 2021 – Baisakhi, Hindu Vikram Samvat year begins.
21 April 2021 – Ram Navmi, birth anniversary of Lord Ram, an Avatar of Lord Vishnu (Hari).
27 April 2021 – Chaitra Poornima, birth anniversary of Lord Hanuman on full Moon, the Amrit Yoga.

India Post Camp Post Office
India Post established a special Camp Post Office at Rishikul in Haridwar for a period of one month – from 1st April to 30th April 2021.

Spiritual Picture Post Cards and Special Covers
AZIMVTH Ashram issued two series of picture post cards – each set having four cards – and these corresponded to the eight special bathing days. Matching Special Covers were also issued.

Series titled ‘Kumbh and COVID-19.’
The series consists of four picture post cards and matching covers cancelled on the respective four special bathing days in the month of April 2021. A short description, specific to each card, was printed on the back of each card. The details are given below. Additionally, a post card sized sheet, printed on both sides, is also a part of the set and it has relevant text by way of further explanation.

Haridwar – View from Chandi Devi Temple. Kumbh Mela (the festival of the sacred Pitcher) is the largest peaceful congregation of people on Earth, during which participants take ritual dips in the sacred river Ganga in Haridwar. Haridwar is at the mouth of a gorge from which Ganga rushes forth out of the mountain Himalayas in to the plains. To the left of Ganga is Neel, a hill of the Shivalik ranges, atop which is situated the temple of Chandi Devi, the goddess with fiery powers and slayer of demons.
12 April 2021 – Somvati Amavasya, Lord Shiva’s no-Moon night on a Monday.

Mansa Devi Temple – View from Neel Dhara Haridwar. Planet Jupiter completes one orbit around Sun in 12 years. Kumbh is held when Jupiter comes to enter the astrology mansion of Kumbh (Aquarius). Originally, Kumbh used to occur once-in-12-years only at Haridwar in northern India. To the right of Ganga is the hill named Bilva atop which is situated the ancient temple of Mansa Devi, the wish fulfilling goddess. Both of the hills are serviced by ropeway gondola cable car.
14 April 2021 – Baisakhi, Hindu Vikram Samvat year begins.

Ghat of Makar Vahini Temple Haridwar. Kumbh is inscribed by the UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of humanity. Ganga, the national river of India, is a national identity element. During Kumbh, the water of Ganga at Haridwar turns into nectar. According to astrology, a holy dip in Ganga can undo the sins of many lives. The ghat outside the Makar Vahini Temple (of the crocodile-riding-goddess i.e. Ganga) established by Shankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti also has a nice prayer service every evening.
21 April 2021 – Ram Navmi, birth anniversary of Lord Ram, an Avatar of Lord Vishnu (Hari).

Aarati at Har ki Paidi Haridwar. Mighty oceans were churned in a collaboration of the divines and the demons. Finally, a Kumbh (pot) of life-elixir was obtained drops from which fell in Ganga at Har-ki-paidi in Haridwar rendering it to be the most sacred spot in Ganga. Aarati prayers to Ganga are held twice every day — at the time of dawn and dusk. It is the biggest attraction in Haridwar. There are two hydro-electricity generating plants: one as Ganga is about to enter Haridwar and the other where Ganga exits Haridwar.
27 April 2021 – Chaitra Poornima, birth anniversary of Lord Hanuman on full Moon, the Amrit Yoga.

Series titled ‘Rishikesh & Haridwar: Kumbh & COVID-19.’
The administration of the Government of Uttarakhand had initially listed around eight special bathing days, as per the convention. Later, mindful of the COVID-19 pandemic, these were reduced to four out of which three were in the month of April 2021. The first bathing day was on 11th March 2021.

AZIMVTH Ashram released another series of four Picture Post Cards and matching Special Covers. Additionally, a post card sized sheet, printed on both sides, is also a part of the set and it has relevant text by way of further explanation. The cards were cancelled on 30th April 2021 by India Post being the last day of the Kumbh festival as per their reckoning. The details are given below.

Prayers to Ganga. Capricorn corresponds to Makar, the crocodile. This day heralds the onset of the Kumbh Mela, a festival that happens once in 12 years and lasts for many months. Prayers are held to Ma Ganga, the goddess who rides a crocodile. Large brass lamps, each containing thousands of wicks and clarified butter are used in the ceremony near the river in Rishikesh and Haridwar, and indeed many other locations on the journey to the Bay of Bengal at Kolkata.
14 January 2021 – Makar Sankranti, Solstice, Sun enters the Capricorn zodiac.

Vegetable Seller. Adherents practice silence (Maun) this day. Ritual bathing is much preferred. Yogins find the day amenable to their Kundalini practices. Mauni Amavasya is also a day for ritual bathing. The Rishikesh-Haridwar region is very fertile. Fruits and vegetables grown locally are sold on push-carts within the day of plucking. Most of these are sold by weight. The four-wheeled push-carts are moved around and the seller takes that to his home in the evening.
11 February 2021 – Mauni Amavasya, the last no Moon night of the Hindu year.

Wish Granting Cows. The churning of the oceans by the divines and demons yielded several ‘jewels’. One of them was Kamdhenu, the wish granting cow. Various neighbourhoods across the region have places where cows who are of age and fallow are sheltered and taken care of. It is not uncommon to find cows on streets. Every temple of Lord Shiva also has a statue of his bull Nandi. Vasant Panchami marks the preparation for the arrival of spring. Prayers to Ma Saraswati, the goddess of learning are held.
16 February 2021 – Vasant Panchami, heralding spring.

Hope Floats. When the prayers are held near Ma Ganga, the believers float a small boat made of leaves. It contains flowers, incense stick and a lighted earthen lamp. People make wishes and float the boats. This is also done in remembrance of the loved ones. Maha Shivaratri is a major occasion for the ritual-bathing in Ganga. People observe fasts during the day. Leaves of the Bilva tree usually are in clusters of three and garlands made of 108 or 1008 such clusters are offered to Lord Shiva.
11 March 2021 – Maha Shivratri, the great night of Lord Shiva.

Post Marks
India Post used two post marks – one in the shape of a circle (image file title ‘Kumbh Haridwar India Post Post Mark – 1’) and the other in the shape of a rectangle (image file title ‘Kumbh Haridwar India Post Post Mark – 2’) – each bearing code ‘UA-3004’.

AZIMVTH Ashram created several post marks. There are 8 different marks for the eight special bathing days (image file title ‘AZIMVTH Ashram 8 Post Marks’). AZIMVTH gave a slogan ‘Yes Kumbhak No COVID-19’ and this was amplified by creation and use of three stamp marks – a round one (image file title ‘AZIMVTH Ashram – Kumbhak COVID Mark’) and two in the form of texts in Hindi (image file title ‘AZIMVTH Ashram – Kumbhak COVID Slogan – Hindi’) and English (image file title ‘AZIMVTH Ashram – Kumbhak COVID Slogan – English’).

KUMBHAK
Kumbhak is the name of a special pranayama (breath yoga) technique that consists of purak and rechak. Trained intake of breath, withholding it, exhaling and pausing on empty stomach are the important aspects of this practice. COVID-19 directly affects lungs. Practicing Kumbhak consistently everyday for a long period may help in mitigating/warding off the pandemic.

Spiritual Arts
The front of the eight post cards depict oil paintings of relevant places and sights in Haridwar. These were created by the well renowned American painter Jennifer Taylor when she was staying and training at AZIMVTH during the onset of the pandemic. Some of the originals of these oil paintings are on permanent display at AZIMVTH Ashram in Haridwar India. Second originals and others have been exhibited at various prestigious venues like the Denver International Airport in the United States. Connoisseurs of fine arts are appreciating these and patrons are also buying.

Jennifer’s arts have been featured on the cover and centre-folds of many popular journals. US magazine ‘Plein Air‘ published in its print version of Oct / Nov 2020 issue an 8 paged article on AZIMVTH Ashram featuring these Haridwar arts that are now also available as picture post cards.

Four colour offset printed
The first four cards were offset printed. Using them postally has made them the only offset printed philatelic material for the Haridwar Maha Kumbh 2021.

Other cards

Besides these, another series named ‘Panch Vati’ and a post card on Hanuman ji are also available.

Energised
A drop of the holy Ganga water, drawn from Brahma-kund / Har ki Paidi during the Kumbh festival is installed on each card. These cards were used during special meditations and prayers rendering each of them to be invoked with energies.

Invitation to own
Spiritualists, Yogins, fine art connoisseurs, and philatelists the world over are invited to procure these special offerings at discounted prices by writing to AZIMVTH (at) gmail (dot) com

OTHER FESTIVALS AND OBSERVANCES

Many festivals and observances are held across the year in Haridwar.

Rama Navami: The Eighth Avatar Births on the 9th Day (02 April 2020)

Hanuman Jayanti: Anniversary of the Immortal Lord of Bhakti Yoga (08 April 2020)

Savitri Vrat: The Yoga of the No-Moon-Night (22 May 2020)

Ganga Dussehra: Ganges Descends from Heavens (01 June 2020)

Guru Purnima: The Guru at Full-Moon (05 July 2020)

Kanwar Yatra: Bringing Ganges Water from Haridwar (05 – 19 July 2020)

Ganesh Chaturthi: The Day of New Beginnings (22 August 2020)

Shraadh: Fortnight of and Healing With Ancestors (02 – 17 September 2020)

Nav-ratri, Durga Puja, and Dussehra: Obeisance to The Nine Goddesses on Nine New Nights, and Ending the Demon on the 10th ( 16 to 25 October 2020)

Sharad Purnima: Meditation With the Most (Spiritually) Beautiful Moon of the Year (30 October 2020)

Ahoi Ashtami: The Mothers, Children, and Hedge-Hog / Jackal  (08 November 2020)

Diwali: The Festival Celebrating Victory of Light Over Darkness (25 – 29 October 2019)

  1. Dhanteras: The Ayurveda Day (25 October 2019)
  2. Nark Chaturdashi: Lamp & Ablutions to Keep Death-God Away  (26 October 2019)
  3. Badi Diwali: Invocations on No-Moon to Lakshmi for Prosperity (27 October 2019)
  4. Govardhan: Lifting a Mountain Like a Mole-Hill (28 October 2019)
  5. Bhaiya Dooj: Brothers’ Day (29 October 2019)

Kartik Purnima / Guru Parab: In the Footsteps of Guru Nanak, 515 Years Later (12 November 2019)