Kumbh Mela is considered one of the largest religious gatherings not only in India but also the world.
This year, Prayagraj (formerly Allahabad) in Uttar Pradesh is hosting the Ardh Kumbh Mela (half-Kumbh; celebrated every six years) or "Kumbh 2019" from 15 January.
From how to attend and where to stay to important dates, here's all you need to know about Kumbh 2019.
When and where would Kumbh 2019 be held?
The "Kumbh 2019" is the upcoming Ardh Kumbh Mela that would be held at the Triveni Sangam in Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh. This year, the Prayagraj Ardh Kumbh Mela will be held between 15 January and 4 March 2019.
Kumbh Mela is held at four places on rotational basis
Kumbh Mela is celebrated in four holy Hindu places: Haridwar on the Ganges, Uttarakhand; Ujjain on the Shipra, Madhya Pradesh; Nashik on the Godavari, Maharashtra; Prayagraj at Triveni Sangam (confluence of Ganges, Yamuna, and mythical Sarasvati rivers), Uttar Pradesh.
It's held four times over a 12-year-period on a rotational basis at these places. At any given location, it is celebrated once in 12 years.
About the Ardh Kumbh Mela
The Kumbh Mela which is held once in 12 years is called Maha Kumbh Mela. At Haridwar and Prayagraj, however, an Ardh Kumbh Mela (half Kumbh celebration) is held every six years. The upcoming Kumbh 2019 edition is an Ardh Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.
Indian Railways, Air India making special arrangements for 2019 Kumbh
Indian Railways is introducing 800 Kumbh special trains. It will also use IBM Intelligent Video Analytics to ensure crowd control at railway stations and adjoining areas. It has also launched Kumbh Rail Seva app which will provide information to rail passengers.
Air India would also operate special flights connecting Prayagraj and major cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata between 13 January and 30 March.
How to reach Prayagraj Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019?
By air: One can take a flight to Prayagraj's airport in Bamrauli. Nearby airports include Varanasi (130km from Prayagraj), Lucknow (200km), and Kanpur (200km).
By train: Prayagraj railway station is well-connected to major cities. Many direct, indirect, and special trains are available.
By road: Prayagraj is also well-connected via road to National and State Highway network. State-run and privately-operated buses are available to Prayagraj.
What about the accommodation and stay?
Arrangements for the accommodation and stay of pilgrims and tourists are being made in Prayagraj. For information regarding the staying options during the Kumbh 2019, one can visit the official Kumbh Mela website hosted by the government.
Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 special bathing dates
Kumbh Mela involves various rituals, including the most significant bathing ritual. Millions take part in the sacred ritual at Triveni Sangam in Prayagraj. Important bathing dates this year are:
January 15: Makar Sankranti (First Shahi Snan).
January 21: Paush Purnima.
February 4: Mauni Amavasya (Second and Main Shahi Snan).