Three Guinness world records, 24.05 cr devotees, 20,000 cops: 2019 Kumbh Mela was a mammoth feat of numbers

The one-and-half-month long Kumbh Mela drew to a close after more than a crore devotees took the dip in the Sangam area of Prayagraj on Mahashivratri. The Sangam, which is the confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati river, was witness to a feat of numbers as the Kumbh Mela broke world records and saw an astounding number of devotees take a dip during the festival.

Late night showers and fires in the tent city failed to dampen the spirit of devotees who trooped in until the last day. "Till (Monday) evening, as many as 1.10 crore devotees took a dip in the Sangam area. With Mahashivratri's snaan, more than 24.05 crore devotees have taken a dip in this year's Kumbh," Kumbh Mela Adhikari Vijay Kiran Anand told PTI.

Till 3 March, the number of devotees who had taken the dip during the Kumbh stood at 22.95 crore, an Uttar Pradesh government official said.

 Three Guinness world records, 24.05 cr devotees, 20,000 cops: 2019 Kumbh Mela was a mammoth feat of numbers

File image of the 2019 Kumbh Mela. PTI

The Kumbh is one of the largest religious gatherings in the world and is held once in every 12 years. This time, it began on 15 January, on Makar Sankranti. When Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath felicitates officials who have contributed significantly to the smooth running of the festivities in the Kumbh Samaroh Samapan Kaaryakram on Tuesday, he will have thousands to choose from.

Police and central paramilitary personnel had the mammoth charge of ensuring that the movement of people and vehicles in and around the bathing ghats and tents remained smooth. As many as 20,000 police personnel were deployed at the venue. Forty police stations, three of which were Mahila police stations, were set up at the Kumbh area. Forty fire fighting centres, 15 fire outposts, 40 watch towers and more than 1,000 CCTV cameras were put in place. As many as 6,000 home guards, 80 companies of Central forces and 20 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary were brought in, Uttar Pradesh DGP OP Singh had told PTI.

"The administration put in place a fleet of 55 Motorbike Fire Fighting System (MBFFS), which could reach the corners of the massive tent city faster than a fire tending vehicle,"  Pramod Kumar Sharmam, the chief fire officer (CFO) of the mela administration had told Firstpost.

As the Kumbh approached its finale, the mega event etched its name into record books, creating a hattrick of world records, which were certified by the Guinness World Records.

One of the records was most contributions made to a hand-print painting (on the theme of Jai Gange) in eight hours. The Guinness World Records certificate reads, "The most contributions to a hand-print painting in eight hours was achieved by Prayagraj Mela Authority, Government of Uttar Pradesh (India) in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh India on 1 March, 2019."

A part of the Paint My City initiative, the hand-print community activity saw the participation of 7,664 people from all age groups. The earlier record was held by Seoul in which 4,675 people had taken part.

Another world record created was the largest parade of buses on 28 February. This attempt in Prayagraj involved 500 buses which covered more than 3.2 kilometres of the National Highway 19 between the Sahson and Nawabganj toll plazas.

On 2 March, another world record was achieved by Prayagraj Mela Authority — that of most people sweeping the floor at multiple venues. With the participation of more than 10,000 sanitation workers, this record too was certified by the Guinness authorities. On 25 February, after having washed the feet of five safai karamcharis, and while speaking on the huge effort it took to keep the Kumbh clean, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pointed out that the Kumbh had "over 20,000 dustbins, one lakh toilets."

File image of authorities inspecting fire bikes at the Kumbh Mela ground. Image Courtesy: Saurabh Sharma

File image of authorities inspecting fire bikes at the Kumbh Mela ground. Image Courtesy: Saurabh Sharma

The mela had around 1,22,000 toilets, as many as 15,000 sanitation workers, 40 compactors and 120 tippers for waste disposal and around 2,000 Ganga Praharis and swacchagrahis as volunteers to ensure cleanliness. As a beautification measure, as many as two lakh trees were planted.

In 2016, the Uttar Pradesh government under Yogi Adityanath had drawn up an estimate of more than Rs 4,200 crore for the preparations, with the state government allotting Rs 2,000 crore and the Centre pitching in with the rest. This made this year's Kumbh the costliest ever. Only about Rs 1,300 crore was spent in 2013, with the then UPA government at the Centre pitching in with Rs 1,017 crore, reported The Economic Times.

To say that the arrangements were large scale would be an understatement. The mela area was lit with more than 40,700 thousand LED lights. An entire city was established on a public-private partnership model. The official Kumbh Mela website claims that 4,200 "premium tents" were set up at the mela area. Some of the luxury tents by the Ganga cost up to Rs 35,000, reported Economic Times.

Additional public accommodation arrangements made sure that the mela had as many as 20,000 beds.

A Ganga Pandal, with a capacity to accommodate 10,000 people, was built for cultural, spiritual and official programmes. A Pravachan Pandal with a capacity for 2,000 persons was also built.

Traffic planning also involved the clearing up of 300-kilometres of roads in the mela area and the creation of 84 parking areas for more than five lakh vehicles. As many as 1,795 pontoons were used for developing 22 pontoon bridges. More than 500 shuttle buses and thousands of CNG autos were deployed.

Drinking water arrangements involved 5,000 stand posts, 200 water ATMs, 150 water tankers and 100 hand pumps. A 800-kilometre-long pipeline was drawn to the mela venue to bring water.

Celebrated four times in the course of 12 years, this year's Kumbh Mela was a feat to behold in terms of organisation, administration and attendance.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: Mar 05, 2019 09:34:47 IST