India prepares for Kumbh Mela, over 100 million devotees expected

Kumbh is the largest human congregation in the world where millions of devotees believe that taking a dip in the holy water will pave the way for their salvation and would rid them of their sins.

Kumbh Mela 2019

People from across the world have gathered for the Kumbh Mela, a festival that fuses spirituality, politics, and tourism

It is set to begin on January 15 in India.

(Photograph:AFP)

Types of Kumbh Melas

Maha Kumbh Mela is held every 144 years and is considered to be once in a lifetime occasion.

Kumbh Mela is held at four different places - Ujjain, Prayagraj, Nashik and Haridwar. It is organised every year on the banks of the Triveni Sangam (confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and the Saraswati) in Prayagraj.

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Prayagraj ready for Kumbh Mela

The Kumbh Mela, which is a 2,000-years-old festival, is to be held in Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh this year.  

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Bathing at Sangam

During the Kumbh Mela, millions of pilgrims are expected to bathe at the Triveni Sangam, the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the Saraswati.

It is believed that bathing in the waters of the Ganga absolves people of sins and bathing at the time of the Kumbh brings salvation from the cycle of life and death.

(Photograph:Reuters)

100 to 150 million people expected

Maha Kumbh Mela of 2013 gained wide recognition for its record of 'Largest Gathering on the Earth'.

The government said about 100 million to 150 million people, including one million foreign tourists, are expectedly attending the eight-week festival period this year, and the scale of the efforts to feed and house the pilgrims is immense.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Rs 4300 crore for infrastructure

The Uttar Pradesh government has allotted Rs 4,300 crore for creating the infrastructure necessary to conduct the Kumbh Mela 2019. 

Organizers are erecting temporary bridges, 600 mass kitchens, portable toilets, and vast tents, each sleeping thousands of pilgrims at a time, in a pop-up city on the banks of the two rivers.

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1,22,000 toilets for pilgrims

Sanitation and hygiene are two of the main areas that authorities are trying to be vigilant upon.

The authorities in Prayagraj have built 1, 22,000 toilets for pilgrims attending Kumbh Mela to make the fairgrounds open and defecation free.

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The largest temporary city of the world

A new city is being set up in the huge Mela area that has 250 kilometre long roads and 22 pontoon bridges which will make it the largest temporary city of the world.

The Mela area is being brightened up by installing over 40,000 LED lights there.

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World's largest religious festival

UNESCO has already included Kumbh in the list of "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity".

Kumbh Mela is the world's largest religious festival.

(Photograph:AFP)