Prayagraj: The much-anticipated Kumbh Mela 2019 at Prayagraj (erstwhile Allahabad) commenced on January 15 and will go on till March 4. Hindu devotees from across the world have congregated at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna to take the holy dip. The Kumbh Mela is held every six years, while the Maha Kumbh takes place every 12 years. This time around, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government has left no stone unturned in ensuring that the Mela, that attracts lakhs of devotees from across the country and the globe, is equipped with modern facilities and security measures.
Kumbh is regarded as the world’s largest religious festival, which sees the participation of sadhus and devotees of all caste and creed. The Mela was included in the list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2017. Devotees consider it auspicious to take a dip at the holy confluence of Ganga and Yamuna at the Kumbh Mela. Prayagraj Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019: Important dates, how to reach, where to stay
Kumbh Mela 2019: All you need to know
- Around 12 crores devotees and tourists are expected to visit Prayagraj during the Kumbh. The state government has ensured that massive security arrangements were in place to tackle any kind of untoward situation.
- All educational institutions, up to class 12, have been ordered to stay closed for three days from January 14 to 16, in view of the large crowds in the city due to Kumbh. The Prayagraj district administration has also advised degree colleges to remain closed to avoid causing inconvenience to college students.
- Makeshift bus stations have been built at all seven entry points of Prayagraj town. The administration has also restricted the entry of buses into the city. Around 6,000 buses have been deployed by the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (UPSRTC) to ferry pilgrims. Kumbh Mela Do’s Don’ts: कुंभ मेले के दौरान न करें ये काम, रखें इन बातों का ख्याल
- Indian Railways has introduced special trains from various parts of the state and the country to facilitate easier travel for pilgrims. Many of the long route trains have been given extra stoppage at Allahabad junction and other railway stations located in Prayagraj district.
- Air India announced new flights to Prayagraj from Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata. The new flights will be operational from January 13 to March 30. Other air services have also provided for air connectivity from several major cities to Prayagraj, including New Delhi, Kolkata, Nagpur, Bhopal, Dehradun, Indore, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, and Lucknow.
- The First Royal Bathing or ‘Shahi Snan’ of Akharas is one the main highlights at the Kumbh. The first bathing festival of Makar Sankranti takes place on January 15 at the confluence or ‘sangam’ of rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and the ‘mystical’ Saraswati. A huge number of saints seers and their disciples participate in the Shahi Snan. People are allowed to take a dip at the sangam only after the ‘shahi snan’ is completed.
- The Kumbh Mela 2019 is spread over an area of 3,200 hectares of land. It is nearly 700 hectares more than the area utilised during the 2013 Maha Kumbh.
- In a historical first, Kinnar saints of the Vedic Sanatan Dharma have been provided space at the Kumbh Mela. Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, the head priest of the Kinnara Akhada, called it an “akhada beyond sexuality” and expressed her joy over the participation of Kinnars or transgenders or third genders at the Kumbh Mela.
- Tourists and pilgrims have the option of booking tents at the Kumbh online through Kumbh Mela website, according to their needs and budget. The Kumbh Website, kumbh.gov.in, also provides a list of Dos and Don’ts at the Mela which can prove to be useful for the pilgrims.
- The UP government has decided to use RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags for children under 14 years, which could aid in tracing lost kids at Kumbh. The police department has tied up with Vodafone for the same. Around 40,000 RFID tags are expected to be used