The World's Biggest Religious Event
Welcome to India's Kumbh Mela Festival
Wow. New York City is about 10 million people-old, young, of all types, now, multiply that by eight. That is an incredible number to fathom that will travel days for many miles to reach the Hindu festival along the Ganges River in Allahabad, India. At any one time during the event there will be 500,000 there- think two Sacramento's. When the event occurs, every year on February 15th, on that day, some 15 million will be there-along the banks of dirty, filthy, Ganges River. Forget about the religious aspects of it, think just functional. India usually has some 83 ambulances, 250 doctors, 14,000 policemen, five bomb squads and 200 police boats to control the human mass.
Okay, so, just why do millions go there and cause a massive logistical problem for the Indian government? To wash whatever sins away under the perfect astrological conditions in Ganges. Oh, what about health safety issues?
To prepare for this, after all, not everyone attending has a health safety consciousness as in other cultures. To battle flies, 400 men will spray 28 tons of bleaching powder along with DDT over 250 garbage pits over the two month astrological window of time deemed to clean your sins. To combat the 56 tons of garbage, an army of 6000 people will collect it and put it in 4000 chemically treated pits. Human waste will be buried.
Being an outsider, the numbers alone for this 55 day event are staggering and how can it be less than disgusting when you think that the river is already one of India's most polluted. Now, you are adding more feces and chemicals into the real brew of waste. One might call this beloved custom a "fatal attraction to those attending". One wonders how cannot a deadly pandemic stem from this 2000 year old tradition. How can it NOT happen? Maybe God listens when 80 million pray.
The city sponsoring it has 28 departments involved. Additional electricity is required also, this will be provided by 45 diesel generators that attach to a grid with 100 connection points, 52 substations and 2100 miles of cable. Some of the roads had to be beefed up with 100 miles of double steel plating and 25000 street lights were also installed. That is not all. To provide water, an additional 466 miles of pipe were laid to create a capacity of 21 million gallons of water daily. Over 40000 toilets were also placed.
All these numbers a of a dizzy and mesmerizing nature. If this event ends without a major issue, it will be a miracle.