Uttarakhand will showcase the historic Kumbh Mela in its tableau at the Republic Day parade this year.
"The tableau from Uttarakhand shows a scene from the ‘Samudramanthan’ or churning of the ocean and the scene from Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar," said Dhanajay Mohanty, a defence ministry official coordinating the parade preparations.
The tableau depicts various facets of the festival, etching its mythological significance in myriad colours and carvings.
The Kumbh Mela is one of the world’s oldest religious gatherings. Every 12 years, millions gather at Haridwar – the gateway to the abode of Lord Shiva in the Himalayas – for the Maha Kumbh Mela.
In Hindu mythology, the Kumbh Mela traces its origin to the Samudramanthan described in the holy texts of Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu Purana, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. When kumbh (pot) of amrit (the nectar of immortality) came out, the gods had to safeguard it from demons. Lord Vishnu’s carrier Garuda flew away with the elixir. Four drops from the pot fell at four places – Haridwar, Prayag (Allahabad), Ujjain and Nashik – where the Kumbh Mela is held till this day.
"The Kumbh Mela is a part of Uttarakhand’s history and tradition. The Haridwar Kumbh coincides with astrological alignment of Venus and Jupiter with the Sun and the Moon," an official said.