It will be bitterly cold, with winds accentuating the bite. The water would be bone chilling, yet, the air at Prayagraj today will electrifying; the cold would be non-existent for most caught up in the frenzy of this Hindu ritual, with all eager to take a dip in the ice-cold water.
For the believers, this is a not-to-be-missed event and for the non-believers too, this event should not be missed, as the energy of the place, the milieu of people from all walks of life, the elusive Naga sadhus, the various sadhus on a “high” and striking weird poses, the Swiss tents; but over and above all this, the sheer way in which this event, the largest congregation of people is being managed would be an experience of a life-time. The team managing this event has set itself the goal of making it to the Guinness Book of World Records on three counts – sanitation, traffic management and city beautification. Now aren’t these great goals in itself, looking beyond mere cows and name changing! With some 15 crore expected to congregate on this river bank in the next month, this is indeed a huge event, the biggest political opportunity too!
- The Govt of UP has is going about this in the most professional manner. Global consultancy firm, Ernst and Young (EY) is the main agency working with the state Govt on the Kumbh.
- The Govt has put the total cost of this Kumbh at Rs.4200 crore of which the state govt wants the center to bear 50% of the cost.
- Indian Railways will be running 800 special trains from various stations at Prayagraj. Railways has commissioned 41 projects at a cost of Rs 700 crore for the Kumbh Mela.
- The Kumbh will be a “Brand Mela” with every company wanting to get visibility in this huge event of religion and size.
- Vodafone-Idea to deploy RFID technology for millions of devotees attending the Kumbh Mela. The company said that all children under 14 years of age and senior citizens at Kumbh Mela venue can collect and wear the Vodafone RFID tag. This will help ensure that their movements and location can be tracked and traced.
- Reliance Jio to offer information on real-time status of trains and buses, emergency helplines and routes besides devotional content on its Jio TV and radio apps, news alerts and family locators. Reliance Jio to share pre-published bath and religious day schedules on its app.
- Reliance Retail has created a special helpline number ‘1991’ to answer queries on JioPhone.
- The country’s second-largest operator Bharti Airtel has created a special Kumbh channel on its Airtel TV app to digitally connect devotees at the Mela. Users will be able to stream all major rituals from any location.
- IndusInd Bank will sponsor bioremediation activities in 15 of 35 nallahs that falls into the Ganga river in Allahabad.
- The build of infra is huge and marks the beginning of the use of inland waterways for transporting pilgrims and tourists between Varanasi and Allahabad, a distance of 60 km. The government has set up four floating terminals, one each at Kila Ghat, Saraswati Ghat, Naini Bridge and Sujawan Ghat. Additionally, two vessels - CL Kasturba and SL Kamla - and small boats will be deployed for pilgrim movement.
- The Govt has erected temporary bridges, 600 mass kitchens, more than 100,000 portable toilets, and vast tents, each sleeping thousands of pilgrims at a time – a city has been erected on the river banks.
- The Mela area is being brightened up by installing over 40,000 LED lights.
- One of the most ancient rituals of the world will see the use of the one of the most technologies of the world – Artificial Intelligence (AI). IBM Intelligent Video Analytics will be pressed into service, a first for the Railways, for crowd control at the stations and its adjoining areas.
- The UP Police has developed an app to guide you to everything you need at the Kumbh, known as UP COP, the app will be available for download throu gh the website kumbhmelapolice.gov.in.
- PNB has launched a special card for the Kumbh - PNB Rupay card, which works even in absence of internet.
Luxury tents costing up to Rs 35,000 a night are coming up next to the Ganga in Prayagraj.
- Delhi-based Hitakri Productions and Creations is setting up one of the most luxurious tent cities at the Kumbh, knonw as ‘Indiraprastham, in partnership with UP Govt.
Well, a bigger event than this one will take place in 2022 – the Maha Kumbh Mela in Haridwar, which occurs every 12 years. Wonder what would be size of that gigantic event?