Kumbh Mela is made up of two word Kumbh and Mela. The name Kumbh is derived from the immortal pot of nector which the Devtas and the demons fought over as described in ancient Vedic scriptures known as the Puranas. Mela, as we all are familiar, is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘gathering’ or ‘to meet’.
The history of Kumbh Mela is related to the days when the Devtas and the Demons conjointly produced nector of immorality as depicted by the legends. The Devtas and the demons agreed to complete the task together and decided to share the nector of immorality in half. The Devtas and the demons, then assembled on the shore of the milk ocean that lies in the celestial region of the cosmos. The churning of the milk ocean produced a deadly poison which Lord Shiva drank without being affected. After crossing through many hurdles years later, Dhanwantari appeared with the nector of immorality in her hands.
The Devtas forcibly ciesed the pot with its safety entrusted onto the four Gods – Brahaspati, Surya, Shani, and Chandra. Thereafter, the demons chased the Devtas for many days. During this time the drops of Kumbh dropped at 4 places Prayagraj, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik. These four places are since then believed to have acquired mystical powers. The fight for the Kumbh i.e. the sacred pitcher betwen the Gods and demons continued for 12 divine days, which is considered to be as long as 12 years for humans. That is why the Kumbh Mela is celebrated once in 12 years and gathering took place on the above mentioned sacred places or holy sites. It is said that during this period the rivers turned into Amrit and so, several pilgrims from across the world visit the Kumbh Mela to bathe in the essence of purity and immortality.