As the dates for the annual Kumbh Mela draw near, the Uttar Pradesh government is gearing up to hold the world's largest spiritual gathering - The Ardh Kumbh in Prayag (Allahabad) from January 15 to March 4, 2019.
As the dates for the annual Kumbh Mela draw near, the Uttar Pradesh government is gearing up to hold the world’s largest spiritual gathering – The Ardh Kumbh in Prayag (Allahabad) from January 15 to March 4, 2019. Held every year in rotation in these four cities- Haridwar, Prayag, Nasik, and Ujjain, this year’s Mela is touted to have a footfall of whopping 150 million over the 55 days of its course, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said while addressing a gathering in Mumbai during the animation video launch of Kumbh-2019. The chief minister also detailed the state government’s preparedness for the mega event.
The number is more than the populations of 222 countries individually- Germany (81,914,672), UK (65,788,574), France (64,720,690), South Africa (56,015,473) and Australia (24,125,848) among others (Source- UN List of Population). The number of people expected to attend is also more than the population of over 100 countries combined. The previous event saw a footfall of over 120 million, as claimed by CM Adityanath.
The event holds the fascination of scholars alike and a number of works have been contributed to the same- “The Holy Dip” by Devesh Chaturvedi, “Kumbh Mela – Pilgrimage to the Greatest Cosmic Fair” by D.P. Dube, “Kumbh Mela – Mapping the Ephemeral Mega City” by Hatje Cantz, “Mahakumbh 2001 – The greatest show on earth” by JS Mishra etc.
There is no historical evidence as to when and where the Mela originated, but it holds mythological significance for the Hindus and is based on the legend of Samudra Manthan.
Special provisions have been made by the state government to ensure peaceful and smooth conduct of the Mela. Railways are to run 800 special trains for the event and the state has passed a sanction of Rs 700 crore to provide for shelters for the pilgrims and making the city tourist complaint. The BJP government Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has also promised numerous facilities for the devotees. Special arrangements have also been made to ensure there is no law and order situation during the duration of the congregation.
While there is no concrete way to ascertain the exact numbers of the pilgrims that gather for the event, it is considered to bring together the largest number of devotees from a religious sect. The Mela is also on the International radars as it is a part of UNESCO’S Representative list of Intangible Cultural Events of Humanity.