Ujjain : Akhada, the word which means more than life for the Sadhus who are part of it and for most of them it is the only family they know.
Some of the Sadhus, who become a disciple, have to literally perform the ‘Pind Daan’ of themselves and their family, while some have to take wow to leave the materialistic world. Free Press has brought a precise and compact facts of all the Akhadas who make the Simhastha fair a religious congregation. Word Akhada is a word commonly used to describe a wrestling ground. But in its original means, it was training grounds of sadhus who in necessity will bear weapons to save the Sanatan Dharma. There are total 13 akhadas which have got unanimous approval from all sects of Hindu religion. Out of these 13 akhadas 7 follow Shaivism, 3 are Panchayati and three follow Vaishnavism.
Small wing of the Akhada is called Ani or Khalsa depending upon the Akhada. All these Akhadas constitute the Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad (ABAP). Foreign aggressions as well as intra-sect differences caused growth of the Akhadas from 6th century onwards. The Sadhus follow Dashnam Sanyasis, Sadhu and saints and were integrated at some time. There specific names such as Bharti, Giri, Puri, Saraswati, Van, Parvat, Tirth, Aranya, Ashram and Sagar were their identities. Over the years, these Akhadas grew up into an institution like the Mutts and they are managed and run by the office-bearers like Shri Mahant, Mukhiya Mahants, Sthaniya Mahant (Thanapati), Mukami Mahant, Sachiv, Adhikari, Karbaris, Kothari and Pujaris.
The Panchayati Akhada performs Shahi Snana after sun rise. Panchayati Udasin Bada Akhada
It was founded in year 1768, during the Kumbh Mela of Haridwar. Saint Shri Chandra Dev Acharya Udasin was the founder of the Akhada. Sect indifference is observed in this akhada. It has headquarters at Prayag and branches at Ujjain, Haridwar, Gaya, Varanasi, Kurukshetra, Patiala, Hyderabad, Guntur, Shiva Kashi, Tryambakeshwar, Hilsa (Nalanda), Kaharpur (Hoshyarpur, Punjab) and Samdiyala (Gujarat).
Panchayati Udasin Naya Akhada
It was founded in year 1846 after dispute with the Bada Udasin Akhada. Mahant Sudhir Das was the founder of the Akhada. The headquarters is located at Haridwar and branches at Ujjain, Prayag, Kurukshetra and Tryambakeshwar.
Nirmal Panchayati Akhada
It was founded in year 1856 in Punjab. Shri Durga Singh Maharaj was the founder. It has headquarters at Haridwar and branches at Ujjain, Prayag, Tryambakeshwar, Nashik, etc. Has close ties with Sikhism. The Akhada believes in Guru Granth Sahib and follows a Shaiva and Vedic Upasana tradition. Guru Gobind Singh had sent a batch of 5 saffron robe sants (Panch Nirmal Gaurik) (to learn Vedas, Vedang, Dharma-shastra at Varanasi. However after learning, these Sants had formed their own sect by name Nirmal Sampraday.
Vaishnava Akhadas or Bairagis
3 Akhadas and 18 Anis were formed in 1475 at Vrindavan by uniting 4 Sampradayas and Mandals / Sanghs of the Vaishnavas.
Panch Ramanandiya Nirmohi Akhada
They bear yellow flag as their identity and usually perform Shahi Snana after Dashnamis. It comprises of 7 Anis including. Shri Ramanandiya Nirmoh, Shri Ramanandiya Zadiya Nirmohi, Shri Ramanandiya Maladhari Nirmohi, Shri Ramanandiva Maha-Nirvani Nirmohi, Shri Ramanandiya Santoshi Nirmohi, Shri Radhavallabhi Nirmohi, Shri Harivyasi Santoshi, Shri Harivyasi Maha Nirvani, and Dadu Panthi.
Panch Ramanandiya Digambar Akhada
It comprises of 2 Anis with Five Colour Flag viz. Shri Ramji Digambar and Shri Shyamji Digambar ani.
Panch Ramanandiya Nirvani Akhada
It comprises of 7 Anis including, Shri Ramanandiya Nirvani, Shri Ramanandiaya Khaki, Shri Ramanadiya Niralambi, Shri Ramanadiya Tatambari,Shri Harivyasi Nirvani, Harivyasi Khaki and Balbhadri ani.