Maha Kumbh : The giant spiritual fete

On January 9, 2001, the largest human conglomeration gathered at the Maha Kumbh mela, the first major spiritual gathering of the millennium. The humungous assemblage, which occurs every 12 years, was a festival of superlatives in many ways.

By Akrita Reyar | Updated: Sep 24, 2014, 17:35 PM IST

On January 9, 2001, the largest human conglomeration gathered at the Maha Kumbh mela, the first major spiritual gathering of the millennium. The humungous assemblage, which occurs every 12 years, was a festival of superlatives in many ways. The total area of Kumbh Mela was an amazing 1400 hectres. This year, the mela had a whopping budget of Rs 120 crore and the overall administrative staff employed for the festival was 11,000 including the 5000 police personnel. Around 20,000 government employees from various departments worked for the organisation of the Kumbh. There were 414 khalsas, 14 akharas and 95 mandaleswar acharyas in the Kumbh village. Fifteen pontoon bridges were built across the river to facilitate the travel of pilgrims and vehicles to the other side of the rivers, ten of them across the Ganges and two across the Yamuna. A 145-km pipeline was built specially for the Mela besides tube wells. In order to make the sandy banks hard enough to facilitate communication, 175 kilometres of iron chequered plates were laid on the river bank. For proper electricity, 450 kms of overhead lines had been pulled to give connections to 65,000 camps and 15,000 temporary street lines. For keeping the Kumbh area clean, 7000 cleaners and karamcharis were employed and 50,000 trench patterned latrines were made. Awestruck by the human congregation, international media descended on India. Newspapers, magazines and television channels were replete with unforgettable images from Kumbh in all its aura. A miracle that our security managed to pull-off the show without any major incident as terrorists had put Kumbh high on their hit list!