Allahabad: Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019, one of the largest religious festivals in the world, is set to begin from Tuesday amid tight security at Prayagraj (formerly known as Allahabad) in Uttar Pradesh. The mela is expected to attract more than 12 crore people. The first ‘Shahi Snan’, which, according to legends, opens the doors to heaven, will begin at about 5.30 a.m. and will go on till about 4.30 in the evening. To attract more visitors, the government has set up a mini city along the bank of the river Ganga to accommodate the pilgrims.

Massive security arrangements have been made for the first Shahi Snan of Kumbh 2019 . Apart from the police personnel, Paramilitary and Army officers will be looking after the security of the largest conglomeration. Along with State police, BSF, RAF, CISF, SSB, NDRF, Civil Police, PAC and Home Guards have been deployed.

Besides, over 3,000 traffic personnel have also been deployed to monitor and control traffic. Traffic routes have been diverted for the people so that people coming to Kumbh don’t face any problem.

Talking to news agency IANS, DIG Kumbh Mela, KP Singh said, “For the first time, three women units have been deployed at the Kumbh Mela site to specially cater to our women pilgrims. A Foreign Help Desk has also been running 24/7 because there is greater interest among foreigners. We are expecting a unit from MEA to arrive tomorrow to address queries foreign visitors may have.” Schools and colleges have been shut down as a precautionary measure.

The administration has also restricted the entry of all types of vehicles — other than those required for essential services.

Earlier on Monday, a fire broke out in Kumbh complex due to an explosion in a cooking gas cylinder at the ‘Digambar Akhada’ camp, destroying a large part of the tented area but no loss of life was reported. The officials said that they learned about the fire “from the media” and were able to contain it without any casualty in “the shortest possible time.”

Elaborate arrangements for Coverage by Akashvani & Doordarshan 

Both national broadcasters of Doordarshan and All India Radio of Prasar Bharati have made massive arrangements to telecast and broadcast the events of Prayagraj Kumbh 2019. All India Radio AIR has set up a separate one kelowat FM transmitter namely Kumbhvani for the purpose. It will be run and maintained by the AIR Allahabad. Broadcast from this FM channel will be initiated from tomorrow at 5.55 AM and it will be continued 10.05 PM. It will be functional by March 4,2019. Broadcast from this special transmitter will be heard in the radius of across 35 kilometers. AIR Allahabad has set up a studio at Kumbh Mela area and it will be functional till March 4 the last bathing festival of the Kumbh Mela. AIR, first time, has also made arrangements for live streaming on U Tube of all programs broadcast from Kumbhvani FM channel.

Live broadcast and telecast of all three Shahi Snan (Bathing) of Akharas on Makar Sankranti 15th January, Mauni Amasya 4th February and Basant Panchami10th February will be made by both Doordarshan and AIR on national hookup. Live coverage of remaining bathing festivals of Paush Purnima, Maghi Purnima and Maha Shivratri will be telecast by DDUP and it will also be available on DD India channel.

Important Dates to Remember:

Date (2019)           Day              Event

15th January        Tuesday     Makar Sankranti (1St shahi Snan)

21st January         Monday     Paush Purnima

4th February        Monday     Mauni Amavasya (Main Royal Bath 2nd Shahi Snan)

10th February      Sunday       Basant Panchami (3rd shahi Snan)

19th February      Tuesday     Maghi Poornima

4th March             Monday     Maha Shivratri

Over 500 cultural programmes will take place as a part of the Kumbh Mela, along with a laser show and display of India’s cultural and mythological heritage in forms of paintings, statues, and exhibits.

Kumbha Mela is one grand affair and has also been mentioned on the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.  The usual Kumbha Mela is held after every three years, whereas the Ardha Kumbha Mela is held after every six years in Prayag and Haridwar. However, Purna Kumbha Mela takes place after every 12 years in one of those four places, based on planetary movements.