The Kumbh Mela which is touted as one of the greatest Hindu pilgrimages in the world and has been inscribed on the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity is all set to begin this month. The festival will be held in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) and is expected to see over millions of pilgrims. It is held every three years at four different locations – Haridwar, Prayagraj, Ujjain, and Nasik. The festival returns to each city every 12 years. After its recent rechristening, the city of Prayagraj will host its first Ardh Kumbh Mela. The festival will commence on January 15, when the planet Jupiter is in Aries and the Sun and the Moon are in Capricorn and will end on March 4. During the festival, millions of pilgrims take a holy dip at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers.
Shahi Snan Dates
Taking a bath on each day of Kumbh is considered holy and believed that it helps to get rid of sins. The dates of shahi snan meaning royal bath are calculated based on the astrological positions of Jupiter, Sun and the Moon. The first shahi snan will be observed on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti.
- 1st Shahi Snan – Makar Sankranti – January 15
- Paush Poornima – January 21
- 2nd Shahi Snan – Mauni Amavasya – February 4
- Basant Panchami – February 10
- Maghi Poornima – February 19
- Mahashivratri – March 4
Image Source: PTI
How to reach?
Prayagraj is well connected by road, railways, and air. To promote tourism, special arrangements have also been made so that those visiting the festival does not have to face any inconvenience.
Railways – The Indian Railways have introduced 800 special trains and special arrangements have also been made for pilgrims at stations. An app by the railways called ‘Rail Kumbh Seva’ has also been launched.
— Ministry of Railways (@RailMinIndia) January 8, 2019
Waterways – In order to facilitate safe passenger movement under its JalMarg Vikas Project, the Ministry of Shipping has set up 5 jetties and 4 floating terminals in Kilaghat, Sarasvati Ghat, Naini Bridge and Sujawan Ghat in Uttar Pradesh. Additionally, there will also be two vessels – CL Kasturba and SL Kamla – and other small boats for pilgrims.
Pilgrims to visit #kumbhmela2019 via waterways #Ganga: @shipmin_india to facilitate safe passenger movement under its JalMarg Vikas Project
-Sets up 5 jetties & 4 floating terminal-Kilaghat, Sarasvati Ghat, Naini Bridge & Sujawan Ghat in UP
-Deploys 2 vessels to carry pilgrims pic.twitter.com/D42PKGnBM9
— Ministry of Shipping (@shipmin_india) December 31, 2018
Airways – The Uttar Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation has announced the launch of a helicopter ride for the festival from January 17 to February. The nearest airport is Bamrauli. From the airport, the Kumbh Mela location is easy to access via roads and railways.
Where to stay?
The government has made arrangement to accommodate those visiting the city for the holy festival. Details including the address and contact number of various hotels and food places have been provided on the official page of the festival.
To know more, click here.
Image Source: PTI
More about the festival:
- Various booths facilitating pilgrims with virtual reality experience have been set up at prime locations in the Kumbh Mela area so that those who could not make it to the festival can experience and enjoy the festival.
- An SMS campaign has been initiated to provide information regarding facilities and other aspects can be provided to the visitors.
- Hotspots providing high-speed Wi-Fi have been installed for the pilgrims.
- The UP Police and the Fire Department have made special arrangements for the festival. Thousands of CCTV cameras have been installed and over 20,000 policemen will be present.
- Over 40,000 LED bulbs have been installed near the festival area.
- In order to ensure better crowd management, Artificial Intelligence will be used by the Integrated Command and Control Centre of the Police.
- One of the major attractions is the laser light and sound show at the Prayagraj Fort Wall.