An essential part of the Kumbh Mela 2019, “akharas” (Hindu religious groups) set up at the venue are effectively stealing the show.
The word akhara came from the word Akhand which means inseparable. Each akhara houses followers of similar religious practices, views and beliefs.
Akharas can be categorized into three categories basis the deities they worship — Shaiva, Vaishnava and Udaseen. Of the total 13 akharas, 7 are Shaiva and 3 each are Vaishnava and Udaseen.
You Must Know:
Shaiva – Followers of Shiva
Udasin – People who follow the teachings of Shri Chand, the elder son of Guru Nanak
Vaishnav – Followers of Vishnu
Worshipping Lord Shiva in various forms, these akharas include Shri Panchayati Akhara Mahanirvani (Allahabad), Shri Panch Atal Akhara (Varanasi), Shri Panchayati Akhara Niranjani (Allahabad), Taponidhi Shri Anand Akhara Panchayati (Nasik), Shri Panchdashnaam Juna Akhara (Varanasi), Shri Panchdashnaam Aavahan Akhara (Varanasi) and Shri Panchdashnaam Panchgani Akhara (Junagadh, Gujarat).
The son of the first Sikh Guru, Chandra Dev, is considered as the founder of the Udaseen Akhara. The followers of this group offer their prayers to ”Om”.
Three Udaseen Akharas are Shri Panchayati Bada Udaseen Akhara, Shri Panchayati Akhara Naya Udaseen and Shri Nirmal Panchayati Akhara.
For Digambar Ani, Shri Nirvani Ani and Shri Nirmohi Ani, Lord Vishnu is their favoured deity.
In terms of strength, Juna Akhara is the largest, followed by Mahanirvani and Niranjani Akharas.