From using artificial intelligence to building the largest temporary city in the world, here’s how Prayagraj is gearing up for Kumbh Mela 2019.
One of the largest religious gatherings in the world – the Kumbh Mela – will be this time spread over an area of 45 km from the earlier 20 km radius.
Pilgrims visiting the holy city will also get a glimpse of Akshay Vat, a banyan tree held sacred by Hindus, and Saraswati Koop, a well believed to be the source of the mythical Saraswati River.
A new road leading to the Akshay Vat tree is being built to facilitate pilgrims.
Prime minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to the city earlier this month, said devotees will be able to offer prayers at Akhsay Vat, which has been closed for 450 years, during Ardha Kumbh.
Kumbh Mela 2019 dates
The 2019 Kumbh Mela will commence on January 15 on Makar Sankranti which will be the first bathing day. Mahashivratri on March 4 will mark the last bathing day.
How is Prayagraj gearing up for Kumbh Mela 2019?
Sand art of Kumbh Mela. (Image: kumbh.gov.in)
1. For Kumbh Mela, a new temporary city has been set up along Prayagraj, which has 250-km long roads and 22 pontoon bridges. According to news agency ANI, this is the largest temporary city in the world.
2. More than 40,000 LED bulbs have been installed to brighten up the Kumbh Mela, which has already been included by UNESCO in the list of ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.’
3. For the first time, an Integrated Control Command and Centre has been established in the Kumbh area. The system will facilitate controlling and keeping safe the traffic movement and the crowd coming to mela.
4. There will be two Control and Command Centres under a scheme of about Rs 247 crore in Prayagraj. Of these, one Control and Command Centre costing Rs 116 crore has been completed and made functional.
5. Kumbh Mela will witness the use of artificial intelligence for better crowd management for the first time this year.
“Over 1,000 CCTV cameras will be used to monitor various movements across the Mela area spread across 3,200 hectares,” said UP Additional Chief Secretary Awanish Awasthi.
6. Artificial Intelligence will be used by the Integrated Command and Control Centre of the police wherein the security personnel can see the visuals of crowd movement and assess the crowd size. At the same time, they can also monitor anything which is suspicious.
7. In addition to the launch of rescue operations, UP police have acquired quad bikes for quick movement on the sand of the Sangam area. These hi-tech quad bikes have wide tyres and a powerful engine, which makes it easier and quicker to move swiftly on the sand during emergencies.
Facilities for people for Kumbh Mela 2019
1. According to UP government officials, it is for the first time that devotees will be arriving in the city through land, air and water routes. The Indian Railways will run 800 special trains to Prayagraj. Air India has also announced new flights to the Kumbh Mela.
2. Uttar Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (UPSTDC) has announced the launch of a helicopter service namely ‘joyride’ for a tour of Kumbh 2019. This helicopter service will start from January 17 and would continue till February.
3. 10 stalls facilitating the pilgrims with virtual reality (VR) experience have been set up at the prime locations in the Kumbh Mela area. At these stalls, visitors and pilgrims can watch the Kumbh 2019 videos and experience as if they are physically present in those events, using a special VR headset.
4. An SMS campaign has been initiated by the Prayagraj Mela Authority for the convenience of pilgrims coming for Kumbh 2019. More than 10 crore SMS will be sent to citizens in three waves, providing information on various aspects and facilities available for Kumbh 2019.
5. Around 4000 hotspots are being set up across the mela area for providing high-speed Wi-Fi for all pilgrims and visitors.
More about Kumbh Mela
Kumbh Mela is celebrated four times over a course of 12 years.
The geographical location of Kumbh Mela spans over four locations in India and the mela site keeps rotating between one of the four pilgrimages on four sacred rivers; Haridwar on the Ganges in Uttarakhand, Ujjain on the Shipra in Madhya Pradesh, Nashik on the Godavari in Maharashtra, Prayagraj at the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the mythical Sarasvati in Uttar Pradesh.