More than 100 million visitors will attend the event

The visitor numbers at the Kumbh Mela are mind-boggling: approximately 50 million devotees took a dunk in the water on a single day on the occasion of Ardh Kumbh . Titled as the “greatest gathering on earth,” the visitor population is more than most of the European nations. The festival organizers expect 120 million pilgrims will bathe at the Sangam; the place where the rivers Yamuna, the Ganges, and the Saraswati river of lore meet.

The word ‘mela’ is of Hindi origin, and it loosely translates into fair. The Kumbh Mela is a fixture in Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) and held once every 12 years. The 2019 edition is “ardh Kumbh” or a half-size version of the full one. Which does not mean the number of visitors will be fewer. The number of people who attended the fair has only risen over the years.

To devout Hindus, dunking themselves at the Sangam will rid them of all sin and will assist them to attain “Moksha.” If they achieve this, they will be finally free from the so-called endless cycle of birth and consequent death. For organizers, it is a challenge to hold a festival which is actually seen from outer space.

The lodging arrangements are colossal. A sprawling city of tents has been set up on river mudflats, and the system is being run smoothly due to the efficient work of many officials, estimated to be in the thousands. These officials have worked around the clock from a year back to make the whole event proceed as smoothly as possible. The land has been allotted to approximately 6,000 cultural and religious organizations where they will install tents to house visitors from all over India and from all over the world. The mela area is distributed over 32 square kilometers, which is equal to a mid-sized European town.

The Kumbh Mela budget befits the massive event. The 2019 budget is approximately $397 million, and the festivities go on for over 49 days. To accommodate outstation visitors, the infrastructure of Prayagraj itself is undergoing a massive overhaul. A new airport helps visitors to fly to the city from Delhi. The capital metropolis is about an hour away by flight. The city roads have been widened, and many new flyovers greet anyone who comes to the city. Several large car parks were added to accommodate people who drive to the venue.

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