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The bathing ghats in Triveni are being decorated, big hoardings are erected all around, the holy town of Triveni in hoogly, West Bengal is being decorated, the publicity vans are announcing the programme all around. It is a hectic business of all concerned for the ensuing “Tribeni Kumbha Snan O Mela” during February 12-14 to make it a grand success.
As a remarkable holy event, a Kumbha Snan (holy bath in the confluence of sacred rivers) was restarted again in Triveni in 2022 (12 -13 Feb), the holy shrine of Bengali in the district of Hoogly under Banshberia Municipality under the aegis of Tribeni Kumbha Porichalana Samity.
Tribeni in West Bengal is a very important and sacred place for Bengali Hindus for social and religious aspects. The importance of this small town in the spiritual sphere is highly acknowledged as visited by the many saints, sages and monks year after year. In ancient times, sages used to come to Tribeni for spiritual practices and attainment of liberation. After 703 years, a ‘claimed’ Kumbhasnan is held again at Tribeni Sangam, the confluence of two other tributaries of Ganges, Jamuna (Kunti) and Saraswati. 703 years ago, Jafar Khan Ghazi converted the Vishnu temple at Tribeni into a mosque. From that time Kumbhasnan and Mela were stopped. After 1319 AD, a miniature Kumbhasnan was held again in 2022 in Tribeni very enthusiastically. It is pertinent to mention that Tribeni is ‘Mukta Beni’ (free flow) and Prayag is ‘Gupta Beni’ (secret flow).
Tribeni in Bengal is a holy place for the Hindus, the sanctity of which has been recognized for many centuries and had been mentioned in Dhoyi’s Pavanadutam, a Sanskrit piece of the last quarter of the 12th century. The Muslims took it over during early phases of their conquest of Bengal, also referred to as Turkish conquest in the thirteenth century. The place retains its holiness for multiple centuries, primarily due to the rivers it hosted, corroborated by records of the bathers at different timelines, who thronged during the festival of Makar to Magh Sankranti. Tribeni was also marked in history as an important business place like Tamralipta port.
The significance of Triveni was mentioned in Raghunandan’s “Prayaschitta Tattva”. It is known from various historical documents that Saptagram and Triveni were the places of pilgrimage as the epicenters of Sanskrit education and Sanatan Hindu culture. While Allahabad is known as the Prayag in the north, this Triveni is known Prayag to the south. According to various saints, this is the suitable place for Aquarius bathing in the Magh Sankranti. This is also mentioned in various Mangalkavya, Vaishnava literature, Shakta literature, other Bengali literatures.
According to the organizers, research papers from Oxford University and other historians have shown that the Aquarius bath in Tribeni has been discontinued since the beginning of the Islamic rule in the later days of the Sen kings in the advent of the attacks of Jafar Khan Gazi. To bring back the lost glory of Bengal, the organizers of Tribeni Kumbha are determined to revive the cultural heritage of Tribeni. With that resolution, a struggle for Dharmik renaissance in Bengal started 2 years ago by the like-minded socio-cultural and Dharmik Organisations in Bengal and Bengali diaspora in the USA.
The mention of holy dip in Tribeni confluence in WB’s Hoogly district was hinted in many scriptures as well in the Oxford research papers of Alan Morinis titled as, “Hindu Pilgrimage With particular references to West Bengal, India.“
In the page 74-75 of his thesis, Morinis mentioned, “Besides Ganga Sagara, only Tribeni, located within Bansberia town in Hoogly district, has a claim of antiquity. Its name tri (three) veni (Bengali- Beni (braids) — derives from its location at the confluence of three rivers: the Ganges (here called the Bhagirathi), the Jamuna andd the Sarasvati. Tribeni is considered a place of great sanctity as the counterpart of one of the holiest places in India — the confluence of these same three rivers at Prayaga in Allahabad, to which local residents claim it is connected by an underground tunnel. Since the Saraswati is no longer visible at Prayag, but is at Tribeni, priests at Tribeni drew the distinction between, the former as Yuktaveni (closed braid) and the latter as Muktaveni (open braid). Tribeni was aslo a great seat of Sanskrit learning, but is now in decline. At the present time, the principal attraction of Tribeni is the sacred Ganges river as it reflected in annual festival calendar, which celebrates every Sankranti (auspicious for a bath in Ganges), the festival of Varuna, the god of water held in Caitra month (March-April)……” etc.
But, many parportrated version of Alan Morinis’ research paper intentionally put in various social media and even in the article of Dr Ashok Ganguly, a historian of Bengal, in the book- বঙ্গের ত্রিবেণী সঙ্গম ও কুম্ভ মাহাত্ম্য- Banger Tribeni Sangam o Kumbha Mahatma) with a fake insertion of “a Kumbha-mela was held here in past)” instead of the original mention as “(auspicious for a bath in Ganges” by Morinis. And from a rigorous research, it could not be found any mention of ‘Kumbh Snan’ like Haridwar-Prayag-Ujjain-Nasik at Tribeni (WB) in any scriptures or history books.
However, the significance of holy bathing in Tribeni doesn’t come down anyway. Rather the Tribeni Kumbha Porichalana Samity has put its all effort to continue the Kumbha Snan in the new trending of Social Kumbha in the line of Savri Kumbha in Gujarat or Banjara Kumbha in Maharashtra.
This year the Kumbha programme was officially announced at the Tribeni confluence site on the 1st January 2023, through a Bhoomi-pujan at the Mela ground under the auspicious presence of Mahanirvani Akhada’s Mahamandaleshwar Swami Paramatmananda and other senior Seers and Monks of Bengal. Mr. Aditya Neogy, Chairman of Banshberia Municipality amd Mr. Tapan dasgupta also extended their full support for the programme and assured all possible co-operations from the local administrations and associations.
This is the second time when the 3 days Kumbh Mahasnan and Mela will be held from Feb 12 to Feb 14, 2023 as the first Tribeni Kumbha was held last year after 703 years as it was stopped under the attacks of the Islamic invaders and rulers at that time in Bengal. Almost all the religious organizations (Ashrams, Maths and Akhadas) of Sanatan faith will participate in this mega event as expected by the organizers this year.
The Tribeni Kumbha Porichalana Samiti (TKPS) took the charge to restore and regenerate the tradition of Kumbha in Bengal for the revival of Sanatan Hindu tradition and culture in Bengal with the help of present generation and its stakeholders from every section of social, political and economic sphere without any discrimination.
Over 5 lakhs pilgrims are expected to attend this year’s Tribeni Kumbha as told by TKPS. Various cultural segments of Bengal traditions including Kirtan, Baul, Gaudiya Nritya, Shri-Khol, Poter Gan, Chou-Nach etc will be highlighted in the evening programmes during the three days of Tribeni Kubha 2023 including daily Ganga Aarti, Rudrabhishek and Yajna. Several stalls and pavilions (food, religious books and magazines, Bengal handicrafts, Yoga and health awareness, Exhibition on eminent Bengali kings and warriors of the past including the history of Tribeni etc.) will be opened in the Mela ground and surroundings to showcase the heritage of Bengal.
With the help of this regeneration of Tribeni Kumbha, the organizers of this event have a plan to make “Tribeni as a Heritage City of Bengal” restoring the socio-cultural legacy of this historical town.
A press conference was also held in Kolkata Press Club on Jan 31 to highlight the salient features of upcoming Tribeni Kumbha in Bengal where many senior monks of Bengal urged the public to join this holy confluence of spiritual straits.
Now, the Tribeni Kumbha Porichalana Samiti has almost completed the preparations Mega event of Kumbha Snan starting from Feb 12 with the help of the Tribeni Municipality, local administration, police, various temple bodies and clubs located in Tribeni and adjacent areas. The organizers and administrations expect a huge footfall on the day on Sahi Snan scheduled on Feb 13. The 2023 Kumbh Mela at Tribeni will be concluded on Feb 14. A spectacular Ganga Aarti on the bank of Bhagirathi on each day of Kumbha will be another attraction in the evening along with various cultural programmes after that. Holy Soil, water, flowers collected from 20 Shakti Peeths (including three from Banglades) will be offered in the river of Bhagirathi (Ganga) before Sahi Snan, as informed by the organizers.
Banshberia Municipality Chairman Aditya Neogy conveyed the press that WB CM Mamata Banerjee had sent her good wishes to the municipal authority for the success of the Tribeni Kumbh Mela.
As per TKPS invitation card, the programmes are supported by the Ministry of Culture (GOI), Azadi ka Amrit mahotsav, Banshberia Municipality, Bangla Abar and Easrern Zonal Cultural Center, Tribeni is now set for Kumbha Mahotsav, Snan and Mela this year to welcome lakhs of people in these spectacular festive days ahead.
The writer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
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