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One of the largest religious events in India, Ardha Kumbha Mela, is scheduled to kick-start on January 15, 2019, and end on Mahashivratri which is on March 4, in Prayagraj. 12-14 crore pilgrims are expected to come over 49 days.
Let us have a look at some of the interesting facts about this mega festival.
*'Kumbh’ literally means nectar. The story behind the mela goes back to the time when the gods (devas) used to reside on earth. Sage Durvasa’s curse had weakened them, and the asuras (demons) caused havoc in the world.
*The budget of Kumbh Mela has gone up more than three times from Rs 1,300 crore for the 2013 Kumbh Mela to Rs 4,200 crore now and the size of the mela ground has increased from 2,000 hectares to 3,200 hectares.
*The Kumbh Mela has been recognized by UNESCO as an 'intangible cultural heritage of humanity'. The UN body inscribed it on the 'representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity' at its 12th session in Jeju, South Korea.
*The Kumbh Mela is held every three years, and switches between four different locations – Haridwar (river Ganga), Prayag (Triveni Sangam of Yamuna, Ganga and Saraswati), Ujjain (river Kshipra), and Nasik (river Godavari). The mela returns to each location after a span of 12 years.
*A separate logo for Ardh Kumbh 2019 has been designed by the state government.
*The festival is over 2000 years old! The first written evidence of the mela can be found in the accounts of the Chinese traveller Xuanzang, who visited India during the reign of King Harshavardhana.
*In 2019 it will be the first time, devotees will be arriving in the city through land, air and water routes.
*This year Centre government has planned to start an airboat service from Varanasi to Prayagraj for the Kumbh Mela 2019 which is likely to start before January 15.
*1,000 CCTV cameras will be installed in the entire mela area for better monitoring and mitigations of risks.