Religion has always been an imperative part of the Indian culture. India is home to at least 9 recognized religions. Hinduism, the largest religion in India, has different deities resulting in different occasions. One of the most popular occasions is Kumbh Mela. It is a Hindu festival where pilgrims assemble at one place to bathe in holy river. Four fairs are organized at different places - Prayag Kumbh Mela, Haridwar Kumbh Mela, Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha and Ujjain Simhastha. The places are selected by rotation and it returns to one place after every 12 years.
At Haridwar and Prayag, ‘Ardh’ (half) Kumbh Mela is also held after every six years. Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019 is scheduled to happen in Prayagraj. It is slated to run from 15th January to 4th March 2019. It is around a month away and the preparations are in full flow.
Railways effort toward safety
The scar of 2013 Kumbh Mela Stampede at Allahabad Railway Station is still fresh in the mind. To make sure none of this is repeated, Indian Railways are geared up to handle the public. They have a detailed plan which includes deploying 800 special trains to transport public to and from the city. The preparations are done by the supervision of NCR, Norther Railway and North Eastern Railway. More than 40 different projects have been commissioned costing around Rs 700 Crore for Kumbh Mela 2019.
More than 12 crore people are expected in Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019. It is a staggering number and will be the largest human gathering. To make sure that there is no problem in their stay, housing facilities are planned by the government. There is staying facility at railway station too. Four big enclosures to house thousands of devotees have been constructed at the Railway station itself. Several temporary tents and shelter homes are being set up in the city. All of this has been done to accommodate pilgrims who are going to visit this holy festival.
Makeover of the city
The footfall in Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019 is huge and government has taken due notice. To elevate the image of UP and present itself with a difference, complete makeover of the city is happening. If you are visiting Allahabad during this time, you will find the city more colorful. The aim of the Uttar Pradesh government is to provide an experience for the devotees that is going to be remembered by them for a lifetime. Roads, lanes and chowks leading to the holy river are being cleaned. For the 4 akharas, Rs 500 crore have been allocated. Not only this, walls have also been decorated. Centre backed project, Namami Gange, has been projected very well in the form of paintings.
Logo and other developments
Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019’s has also a new logo to its name. It was unveiled last year by UP’s governor, Mr. Ram Naik. The logo has multiple images and comprises of temples, saints, rivers and a kalash among others. It comes with a tagline - ‘chaalo Kumbh chalo, chalo Kumbh chalo’. Officials have been directed by the Uttar Pradesh government to carry the brand new logo on official documents, publicity materials and letterheads. Even cinema halls of U.P. have been asked to display the new logo.