Maha Kumbh 2013 : The Major Attraction (Akharas)

Akhara's Gurdev and his Disciple are going to Kumb Mela
Disciple are giving attention on his Gurudev's Discourse

 Basic purpose behind setting up of akharas was to form a band of religious warriors (Dharma Sainiks) who would protect and safeguard the Dharma from social evils.

Group Dining in Akhara
In Hinduism, Akhara (also akhada, literally "wrestling arena") is an organization of the different sects of Sadhus Vairaghis yogis or Hindu Renunciates. Its history dates back to the circa 2500 BC when Adi Shankaracharya established seven Akharas (possibly 10 as they are also known as Dasnaami), Mahanirvani, Niranjani, Atal, Avahan, Agni and Anand Akhara. Some yogis link these akharas to Gorakhnath rather than to Shankaracharya. Today there are 3 major Akharas (Mahanirvani, Niranjani and 3 minor Akharas (Atal affiliated with Mahanirvani, Anand affiliated with Niranjan. Furthermore there is one small Brahmachari Akhara named Agni. There also numerous minor Akhara's usually set up by disciples as an affiliate to the major group or sometimes due to disagreements on succession or Gurudev of an Akhara.

Akharas are divided into different types according to the concept of God they worship. Shaiva Akharas for followers of Lord Shiva, Vaishnava or Vairagi Akhara for followers of Lord Vishnu and Kalpwasis for followers of Lord Brahma.

An Akhara is divided in 8 davas (divisions) and 52 marhis (centres). Each Marhi is governed by a Mahant. The top administrative body of the Akhara is Shree Panch (the body of five), representing Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Shakti and Ganesha. It is elected on every Kumbh Mela and the body holds its post for 4 years.

The biggest Akhara - based on the number of Sadhus then Niranjani and then Mahanirvani. The first person in the Akhara is the Acharya Mahamandaleshwar, followed by other Mahamandaleshwaras, Mandaleshwaras and Shree Mahants. (All can be considered Gurudevs in their own right).

Traditionally during the Kumbh Mela, the Naga Sadhus, and the 'Akharas', lead and initiate the bathing rituals, before the general population steps in.

Akhara in Kumbh

1 Response to Maha Kumbh 2013 : The Major Attraction (Akharas)

12 December 2012 at 21:14

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