Kumbh Mela 2013 : The World's Largest Gathering
The Kumbh Mela at Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, India happens once every 12 years with 2013 being considered the most auspicious gathering for 144 years. Allahabad, situated at the confluence of the Ganges and the Yamuna rivers is complimented by the mythical Saraswati river to form one of the most sacred places in Hindu belief and philosophy. A dip at the intersection of rivers known as the Triveni Sangam is considered to purge sins and assist one on the path to Moksha (liberation)
A “pop up megacity” as a research team from Harvard called it, the Kumbh Mela is well known for its spectacular gatherings of pilgrims and congregations of saints, seers, philosophers, gurus, preachers and disciples. An estimated 80 to 100 Million people visit during the festival’s 6 week duration beginning in mid January with the most auspicious bathing days attracting more than 7 million bathers along the banks of the rivers.
Although most media attention focuses on the rituals at the Sangam (most sacred bathing area) the temporary settlement is over 20km sq km and is one of the most complex event planning undertakings on earth with a transitory residency larger than the population of a European country. For the period of the Mela, eighteen temporary pontoon bridges are built along with the supply of electricity, water, basic sanitation, food and a dedicated police force of 30 000.
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