India is a country known to globe for its traditions and cultural heritage. And Kumbh Mela, which is the largest peaceful gathering of pilgrims on the planet, is one such event that marks the celebration of Hindu heritage. This year Kumbh commemced from January 15 and the sacred city of Prayagraj will observe its first Ardh Kumbh Mela after its recent rechristening. The festivities will end on March 4, 2019. The Kumbh Mela is a mystery for anybody who hasn’t been at the centre of chaos in Prayagraj.
A temporary 58km squared ‘pop-up’ city ‘Kumbh Nagar’, houses, feeds and cares for people, who are in search of spiritual and physical nourishment. The tented city, funded by the Indian government with help from commercial interests, is constructed in the two months ahead of the festival.Attendees at the Kumbh Mela come from all sections of Hindu religious life, ranging from Naga sadhus, holy men who remain naked year-round or practice the most severe physical discipline, to hermits, who leave their isolation only for these pilgrimages, and even people using the latest technology.
Hindus believe that those who bathe in the sacred waters during the Kumbh are eternally blessed by the divine. All their sins are washed away and they come one step closer to salvation. This Kumbh Mela spans for 55 days but one is always considered the most auspicious. The first royal bath (Shahi Snan) of the Ardh Kumbh Mela which was observed on the auspicious day of Makar Sankranti.
Talking apart from the religious front, Kumbh Mela has created lakhs of jobs and is expected to earn in billions. Present government at both centre and state have shown special interest in the Mela this year and a lot of emphasiss was devoted on making this centre of pilgrimage of faith of Hindus and why not, as many as 15 crore people are expected to land in Prayagraj for the Kumbh Mela. Around ₹4200 crore wereallotted by the state government for the Ardh Kumbh 2019, over two times more than it had spent on the last Kumbh held in 2013. The Public Works Department has to execute projects worth ₹430 crore including building an inner ring road in the city.
Special trains are being run by the Indian Railways to Prayagraj during the Allahabad Kumbh Mela. Similarly, several new flights are operational from January 13 to March 30. During the Allahabad Kumbh Mela, inland waterways are also being used for transporting pilgrims and tourists between Varanasi and Allahabad, a distance of 60 km. So, for anyone who wishes to feel the spiritual ambience and religious delight of Hinduism, there is still lots of days remaining in the Kumbh 2019, all you need is pack your bags and head to Prayagraj.