[India], Sep 6 (ANI): Over 15 crore people are expected to visit Kumbh Mela next year, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said on Wednesday.
Addressing a gathering in Mumbai during the animation video launch of Kumbh-2019, the chief minister also detailed about the state governments preparedness of the mega event and said. "Previously Kumbh used to be organized in 5000 acres of land but this time we are increasing it to about 10,000 acres. In the previous Kumbh that took place in Allahabad, about 12 crore people visited it without any efforts from the government. In the upcoming years, we are expecting that over 15 crore people will be visiting Kumbh at Allahabad. We are also trying to ensure that 6 lakh villages of India are represented in Kumbh in some or the other way," he said.
Making a special announcement for the pilgrims visiting Kumbh-2019, Adityanath asserted that efforts are being made to ensure that visitors to the Kumbh Mela also get an opportunity to see river Saraswati.
"It is the first time that we are preparing for the Kumbh on such grand scale. After hundreds of years, pilgrims will be allowed to pay their obeisance to river Saraswati inside the fort. We are in discussion with different authorities of Government of India to get Allahabad fort gates opened for general visitors during the Kumbh," he said.
At present, the Allahabad Fort is used by the army and only a limited area is open to visitors.
The Chief Minister also apprised the audience of efforts being made to ensure a global presence in the Kumbh 2019. He said, "From all around the world there are around 192 missions in India and we are organizing a visit of Kumbh site for these ambassadors and high commissioners in the month of December. Through them, we will also be extending an invitation to the Indian Diaspora spread around the world as well as to the native population of different countries to come and visit Kumbh for understanding traditions and cultures of India."
Emphasing further on the inclusive nature of the mega-gathering, Adityanath said that Kumbh is not only a religious congregation and in it, there is no discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, sex, nationality or religion.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis also spoke during the occasion and highlighted the significance of Kumbh.
He said, "Kumbh is a symbol of our belief and is a cultural heritage. This is a unique event and UNESCO has also given it a special status now. People in India consider the whole world as our family and this is the reason why there is maximum tolerance in India. Kumbh is not a religious but a social event. The number of people who gather for Kumbh is more than the population of many countries. We all should become a part of Kumbh and with our specific talents and capabilities we all must try to further enhance the culture of Kumbh".
Kumbh Mela will begin in Allahabad on January 15, 2019. (ANI)