The Uttarakhand government has decided to limit the Kumbh Mela this year for 30 days due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Chief Secretary, Om Prakash said on Thursday that the government will issue the notice by the end of March. This time Kumbh will be held from April 1 to April 30. The decision has been taken to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection, Mr Prakash said.
The state government has also said duration of the Kumbh has been reduced as officials fear it may become a hot spot of the virus. Earlier, the Haridwar District Magistrate, C Ravishankar had said that pilgrims will need passes to attend the Kumbh.
"Pilgrims will need passes for Kumbh. The passes will be issued only after submission of a negative RT-PCR test report, medical certificate, and identification proof. Those without passes will be denied entry," said Mr Ravishankar. He also informed that the district administration has demanded 70,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine for the personnel posted on duty to ensure their safety. The Kumbh administration has also put cameras at the Ganga Ghats to monitor the crowd.
Haridwar has turned into a hub of mythology-themed colourful wall graffiti for the devotees and tourists. A campaign called "Paint My City", run by the Haridwar-Roorkee Development Authority has been going on for this.
Describing Kumbh as a festival of colours, Mela Deputy Officer Harbir Singh said that drawings of Hindu mythology and the unique features of Uttarakhand have been installed on bridges, government buildings and other spaces in Haridwar.
The Maha Kumbh is celebrated every 12 years at the four river-bank pilgrimage sites across India.