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Kumbh Mela: The Biggest Gathering in Human History

Over 1.5 crore people will participate in the Kumbh Mela

Naga Sadhus taking their first Shahi Snan at Kumbh Mela

The Kumbh Mela incorporates the balancing forces of chaos and peace, of crazy and the divine, of love and togetherness. This mela is a junction of religion, spirituality, art and the power of humanity which graces the bustling city of Prayagraj four times every twelve years. Millions of devotees swarm the city of Prayagraj to wash away their sins and be blessed by the divine spirit of the gods during the Kumbh Mela.

The Holy Bath at Kumbh Mela
The Holy Bath at Kumbh Mela

It is truly an experience of a lifetime and a massive undertaking for those responsible for the safety and well being of the devotees. According to medieval Hinduism, Lord Vishnu spilled drops of Amrita (the drink of immortality) at four places, while transporting it in a Kumbha (pot). These four places are identified as the present-day sites of the Kumbh Mela. The name “Kumbh Mela” literally means “Kumbha Fair”.

Haridwar (river Ganga), Prayag (Triveni Sangam of Yamuna, Ganga and Saraswati), Ujjain (river Kshipra), and Nasik (river Godavari) are the sites of Kumbh Mela which receive devotees, sadhus, foreigners and travelers of all age groups with a wish to wash away what is undesirable and welcome new happiness to their lives. The Nagas (Naked Sadhus), The Urdhawavahurs (who expose their body to extreme austerities) and the Kalpwasis (the ones who bathe three times a day) along with massive and beautiful rituals that take place during this mela are some of the many things that attract people from all parts of the globe to this unification of man and spirit.

Aghori Baba at Prayagraj
Aghori Baba at Prayagraj

Besides their religious significance, historically the Kumbh Melas were also major commercial events. The 2019 Kumbh Mela has also come as a boon for local artists and musicians as their devotional music is being explored by thousands. Folk singer Malini Awasthi’s song, ‘Chlao, Chalein, Kumbh Chalein’, has been one of the hits online. It recorded thousands of hits on the video-sharing platform, YouTube, within hours of its release on January 14, 2019. The song covers every minute aspect of Kumbh.

With a budget of nearly Rs 4,200 crore, the government has left no stones unturned to ensure that the experience of Kumbh Mela complements its sanctity. With accommodations according to your need of luxury to focus on hygiene and sanitation, this year’s Kumbh Mela is truly different and better. Unlike previous Kumbh Melas, special attention has been given to sanitation and hygiene. So much so, that nearly Rs 350 crore from the Rs 4200 crore budget was put aside just for sanitation.

Tent City at Prayagraj
Photo Credit: Mayank Tiwari

To make Kumbh 2019 an event of unparalleled grandeur, the Government of Uttar Pradesh has undertaken multiple measures for ensuring the efficient running of the Mela. Unprecedented sustainable construction work is being done. Construction of flyovers, railway under bridges, road widening in the city and beautification of major intersections are few highlights of the massive construction and upgradation tasks being undertaken to make Prayagraj ready for Kumbh 2019.

Prayagraj is well-connected thanks to the network of Indian railways and if you’re planning to experience the great undertaking known as the Kumbh Mela, then you won’t have any problems getting there. The most auspicious bathing dates are 2019 January 15, 21 and February 4, 10 and 19. The Kumbh Mela is a jewel which represents the diversity and unity of the Hindu culture. No matter your background, there is something for everyone in this great gathering of loyal devotees.

Start your 2019 on a positive and blessing filled note!

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Written by Lakshya Tyagi

Engineering Student who’s travelled the world, inspired by diversity and empowered by the pen.

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