Jupiter takes eleven years, ten months and fourteen days to complete its revolution around sun, so approximately once in twelve years the sun earth and Jupiter align the same way as they were during the great churning. This astronomical alignment in the space causes the water at the four places where the nectar fell on earth to get energized. When one takes a dip in the holy waters during this period of Kumbh it is believed that energies in water can effect a positive change in the mind, body and spirit of human beings, in other words cleanses the life free of the sins. In Hindu culture, the sun and the moon represents human rational mind and intellect, Jupiter known, as guru is the spiritual master. Philosophically when the human mind and intellect are aligned with the guru, the result is the realization of immortality.
Places where the nectar fell on earth happen to be Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Trimbakeshwar-Nashik and Ujjain. Priests at other places have also attempted to boost the status of their tirtha by adapting the Kumbh legends. The places, whose festivals have been claimed as Kumbh Mela, include Varanasi, Vrindavan, Tirumakudal Narsipur Kumbhakonam (Mahamaham) and Rajim (Rajim Kumbh).
The position of the Sun, Moon and Jupiter in different zodiac signs determines the location of the Kumbh in each of the four places.
• Kumbh in Haridwar: When the Sun is in the zodiac sign Aries and Jupiter is in Aquarius it is held in Haridwar. River flowing at Haridwar is Ganga.
• Kumbh in Prayag: When the Sun is in Capricorn and Jupiter is in Taurus, it is held in Allahabad (Prayag). River flowing at Prayag is Triveni sangam (junctions of Ganag, Yamuna, Sarawathi).
• Kumbh in Nasik: When Jupiter enters the zodiac sign Leo it is held in Nasik. It is also held in Nasik, when Jupiter, Sun and Moon enter the zodiac sign Cancer on Amavasya. River flowing at Nasik in Godavari.
• Kumbh in Ujjain: Ujjain, one of the most sacred places in India, is located on the banks of the sacred river Kshipra in the western region of Madhya Pradesh. Kumbh in Ujjain is held when a rare configuration of planets takes place, which happens once in 12 years. When the Sun is in the zodiac sign Aries and Jupiter in the zodiac sign Leo, it is held in Ujjain. Considering its relevance to the zodiac ‘Leo’ meaning ‘Simha’ in Sanskrit, the Kumbh is also referred to as ‘Simhasth Kumbh’.