Mythology states that the Gods and the demons once churned the ocean to retrieve the Kumbh (pot) containing nectar of immortality (Amrit). As Dhanvantari, the divine healer appeared with the Kumbh containing nectar in her palms, a great fight followed between the Gods and the demons to wrest the pitcher. During the fierce battle in the sky, a few drops of nector fell at four different places, Prayag, Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain. Since then devotees converge to commemorate this divine event. The Ardh Kumbh is held every six years and the Kumbh Mela after 12 years. It is said that a holy dip in the river Ganges during the Kumbh and Ardh Kumbh gives you Moksha or Nirvana. People gather in huge numbers to take the holy dip during these holy days.
Ten days before Shivteras (during the months of Shravan and Phagun) thousands of devotees throng Haridwar to collect the holy waters of the river Ganga. Then they carry it back to their hometown and offer it at the local Shiv temple. Colourful shops spring up and Haridwar resounds with the chanting of hymns.