I have been always awestruck by the sheer magnitude of the kumbh n here is a fascinating Ardhkumbh. I wud love to be part of this amazing cultural extravaganza, an ultimate piligrimage.
The world’s biggest congregation, the Ardh Kumbh mela (fair), begins on Wednesday in Allahabad. Almost fifty to seventy lakh people take the holy dip in River Ganga during the days the mela is on.
More than 30,000 tents have been erected as shelters for the congregation that is spread across a radius of 32 kms.
Sadhus of all sects, devotees from across the world, the poor and the needy, all converge on the banks of River Ganga for a dip in the river, which would absolve them of all sins – as Swami Avdheshanand who heads the Juna sect, says “There should be purity of mind and purity of thought.”
Held once in six years, this grand pitcher festival is known for its most auspicious bathing days like Makar Sankranti and Maha Shivratri, which mark the end of the Ardh Kumbh.
It is said that on any of these days, the number of devotees is almost equivalent to the population of California.
Managing such a huge crowd is a tough exercise for the administration. Just take a look at the logistics involved:
A budget of Rs 170 crore for one month is allocated to eight different departments, which divide the entire area into 11 sectors.
The river bank is connected through 14 pontoon bridges and 27 smaller bridges.
One cannot travel on sand, therefore 75 kms of chequered plates, carpeted all across, lights through 17,000 electric posts, 14 health centres, and drinking water for lakhs of devotees.
Says one of the mela officers, Pragyan Ram Mishra, “There are 38 tubewells and 220 kms of water pipeline to provide drinking water to the devotees who visit.”
This is the biggest attraction for sadhus who have already started coming in from far and wide to take part in this period of enlightenment. These sadhus are more than 5 lakh in numbers, but are divided into 13 akhadas (sects)
The Kumbh administration is expecting nearly seven crore devotees this years