Maha Kumbh is also called as Kumbh Mela. Kumbh Melas take place every 12th year at Allahabad (Prayag), Haridwar, Rishikesh and Nasik. The month long Maha Kumbh is the most auspicious and largest religious gathering of the Hindus. The Maha Kumbh of Allahabad on the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and invisible Saraswati rivers is the prime most among the four Kumbha Melas. At the time of Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, a large number of foreign tourists also gather in large numbers. For few days during Kumbh Mela, the temporary city constructed for the pilgrims and tourists in Allahabad, becomes the most populous place in the world. From tourism point of view, Kumbh festival of Allahabad, evokes incredible mystic appeal among the foreigners.
This great religious gathering (Kumbh Mela) is held four times in twelve years. A legend has it that before the universe took shape, the devas (gods) and the asuras (demons) churned the formless waters. From the ocean, there arose Dhanvantari (vaidya/ doctor of the gods) carrying in his hands a Kumbha (Pot) containing nectar. The devas and the asuras struggled for the possession of the liquid which is supposed to turn mortals into immortals. During this struggled for the possession of the precious liquid, the drops of nectar fell at twelve places of the world. Four of these, namely, Hardwar, Ujjain, Prayag and Nasik are in India, and this great mela is held at each of these places in a twelve year cycle. Normally this pious festival falls in January/ February. The Kumbh Mela of Allahabad (Prayag) is the most famous and auspicious one.