The Maha Kumbh Mela (also reffered to as just “Mahakumbh”) is a mass pilgrimage of Hindu devotees who gather in large numbers for this mela which takes place over a period of three months. The Mahakumbh occurs after every 12 years along the banks of sacred rivers like River Ganga, at the confluence of River Ganga, River Yamuna and River Saraswati, River Godavari and River Kshipra. It takes place at Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik in rotation. The main event of the festival is a ritual bath on the banks of the holy river accompanied by other rituals like aartis, singing of devotional songs and feeding the poor.
This year the Maha Kumbh Mela to be held at Haridwar along the banks of River Ganga is expected to attract large crowds, which on the flip side becomes a playground for terrorism. Also Haridwar as a host of Maha Kumbh Mela Festival, has a past history of violence at such times. Many a times they are local fights and rivalry between different sadhu camps.
Prateek Mishrapuri, founder of the Indian Ancient Education Society said, “The Mahakumbh happens at Haridwar when Jupiter enters Aquarius, the sign of Saturn, and Sun enters Aries, the sign of Mars. Both of them are ‘hot’ planets. So any friction leads to a flare-up.”
As measure of precaution, 16,000 policemen, home guards, commandos and army men have been deployed for the event. Mock drill practices are carried out at many hospitals of the town in preparation of any terror attacks and as for technical aid, 144 surveillance cameras armed with sophisticated video analytics software are being used.
In preparation of large number of visiting crowds, ghats are being expanded, parking space and camping areas being increased. The crowd is expected to increases especially after Shivratri on February 12 and peaks at “80-125 lakh” during the Shahi Snaan which is an auspicious dip on Baisakhi that falls on April 14.
To appease the Gods for protection during his holy event, a sacrifice of an imarti made of pure ghee and a bhalla made of urad daal has been performed.
To ensure that the three months of the Mahakumbh is a smooth sailing process all steps have been taken to remove the unnecessary hiccups, but nature and destiny have their own plans. In case of nature, to control the behaviour of frolicking monkeys, spiders weaving webs and bird droppings are more difficult than human control.
The Kumbh Mela is the largest religious gathering in the world.
The pilgrimage occurs four times every twelve years, once at each of the four locations: Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh), Nasik (in Maharastra), Haridwar (in Uttar Pradesh), and Uj...