Mark Twain happened to witness a Maha Kumbh in his life when he visited India. And, this is what he said about his experience:
“ It is wondeful, the power of faith like that, can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and
endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love or done in fear: I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvelous to our kind of people, the cold whites.”
This year’s Mahakumbh has come after 12 years. It started with the holy Dip by the Naga Sadhus from the Juna Akhara. This gathering will go on for 2 months and will end with Maha Shivratri on March 10.
Some interesting information on this year’s Maha Kumbh:
- 10 crore (100 Million) people expected to visit Kumbh Mela over the next 60 days in Allahabad. About 1 crore are expected to visit the Maha Kumbh Mela on Makar Sankranti day alone and 3 crore pilgrims on Mauni Amawasya on February 10.
- 10 lakh (1 million) expected number of foreign tourists.
- Rs 1,200 crore the total budget for Maha Kumbh. This is Rs 200 crore more than that of the 2001 Maha Kumbh.
- Rs 12,000 crore is expected to flow into the coffers of the UP government as revenue and taxes. The Mela would generate employment for over 6 lakh people.
- 18 pontoon bridges and 35,000 toilets built for pilgrims.
- 156 km of new roads, made of chequered steel plates have been laid on the river bank.
- 571 km of water pipelines have been laid, 800 km of electric wires and 48 power sub-stations been set up in the Mela area.
- 125 ration shops, 4 godowns opened in Mela area for pilgrims to buy grains, groceries and vegetables.
- 2,500 religious and social organisations from across the world will participate.
- 30,000 policemen, 30 new police stations, and 72 companies of paramilitary forces to be deployed.
- 120 CCTV cameras installed in Mela area and Allahabad city.
- 22 doctors and 120 ambulances on round-the-clock duty at the new 100- bed central hospital in Kumbh Mela area.
- 50.83 sq km the total area where the Kumbh is held, almost double the size of the last mela in 2001.
- Rs 6,000 crore is the daily rent for the plush Swiss cottages set up by UP Tourism. CoxBSE 1.05 % and Kings’ luxury cottages come for a package of Rs 15,452 for three nights and four days.
- Hollywood Stars: Richard Gere, Michael Douglas and wife Catherine Zeta Jones expected to visit apart from spiritual guru Dalai Lama, former US presidential candidate John Hagelin.
- Digitised Maps of the entire Mela area have been uploaded on the internet for people to select which place they want to visit and have a dip in the holy waters.
- GPS-Enabled Systems to locate their spiritual and religious heads and the camps/ashrams that they have set up in the Mela area. To estimate exact number of crowds the government has sought cooperation from ISRO and Remote Sensing Application Centre. They will capture photographs of the entire Mela area every 24 hours.