Nine months after Kumbh Mela was included in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list as the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth, the government plans to make the Ardh Kumbh, which is scheduled to take place in Allahabad in January 2019, the biggest ever celebration of its kind. According to a report by The Indian Express, the Culture Ministry is planning to sanction a mega budget of Rs 200-250 crore for this.
A part of this budget (about Rs 100 crore) will be spent on the Sanskriti Gram – a 15-acre tech-enabled museum at the venue which will be made by the set designers of SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus Bahubali. Conceived by RSS-affiliated Sanskar Bharati, the museum will be built at a total cost of around Rs 300 crore with the rest of the funds coming from the Uttar Pradesh government and corporate sponsors.
An RSS functionary who is part of the concept team was quoted as saying in the report that the entrance of this museum will be themed around Ajanta caves and the visitors will be offered a three-hour experiential tour of Indian culture inside – from the Vedic times till date.
The museum is expected to be completed by December. Initially, it would be started as a temporary museum and might be given a permanent space depending on public response.
The ministry has also lined up an international ballet themed around the Ganga, performances by hundreds of artists, and promotions at airports to make the event grand. The Culture Ministry will ask zonal cultural centres across the country to send hundreds of artists to perform at the Kumbh, while the regional centre of Lalit Kala Akademi will be involved in decorating the venue.
The event will be organised over 10,000 acres of land and is expected to see a footfall of about 15 crore with invitations also being sent to each village in India.
Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons had recently submitted in Lok Sabha that a campaign will be run to generate interest around the event. The campaign will include advertisements at major international airports in India, developing a designated area for hoisting the flags of 192 countries from where visitors are expected. The Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned a budget of Rs 450 crore this year for publicity and promotions.