Mapping the Kumbh Mela

Interdisciplinary faculty and student research on a “Pop-up Mega City”

Mapping the Kumbh Mela

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Welcome to Mapping the Kumbh Mela, the blog for Harvard University’s research at the Kumbh Mela.

Mapping the Kumbh MelaAbout this blog

This blog contains writing, posts, media and other impressions and information from the Harvard team’s research at the Kumbh Mela. This blog will be updated often, so please check back regularly.

Click here to see the full blog.

A multidisciplinary team

Over 50 faculty, staff and student researchers from Harvard University traveled to Allahabad, India in January 2013 to document and analyze the processes involved in the successful functioning of the Kumbh Mela, the world’s largest religious festival that occurs every twelve years and draws millions of visitors to a temporary, purpose-built tent city on the banks of the Ganges and Yamuna. This year-long interfaculty project is coordinated by the South Asia Institute at Harvard University and the Harvard Global Health Institute, as part of their focus on Urbanization.

January 14 – February 25, 2013: 55 days, 30 million pilgrims

To accommodate the millions of pilgrims who journey to Allahabad to bathe in the sacred confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna, the Indian government creates a temporary in the flood plain of the river. This city is laid out on a grid, constructed and deconstructed within a matter of weeks; within the grid, multiple aspects of contemporary urbanism come to fruition, including spatial zoning, an electricity grid, food and water distribution, physical infrastructure construction, mass vaccinations, public gathering spaces, and nighttime social events.

Learn more about the project

Mapping the Kumbh Mela Press Release 1.31.13: Learn about the Harvard team’s different courses of inquiry.

Harvard’s official site for the Kumbh Mela: Visit the South Asia Institute’s website, which is the official site for Harvard at the Kumbh Mela.

Media coverage of Harvard at the Kumbh Mela: Read our blog post containing media coverage on this project  from across the globe.

Learn about the Kumbh Mela: The Harvard Global Health Institute has put together an exhaustive resource portal for media, scholarly articles, educational and promotional material, photographs and maps of the Kumbh Mela and related festivals.


Written by jbordo

February 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm

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