The Technology and Operational Chops Behind Kumbh Mela (24 crore devotees in 49 days)

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The Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 has secured place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest crowd management, largest sanitation drive and largest painting exercise of public sites!

More than 24 crores attended Kumbh during the 49 days and a lot of technology and operational expertise has gone behind making Kumbh Mela an astounding success.

Here, we present to you, a collection of technology and operational infrastructure backend behind Kumbh Mela.

1. Indian Railways mobile app for hassle free navigation of devotees at Kumbh

On Mela going 'digital'

North Central Railway launched a special mobile app for Kumbh, ‘Rail Kumbh Seva Mobile App’

Through this app devotees could effortlessly navigate through different venues of the city and Mela ground. It also provided the information regarding all the 'Mela Special' trains run during the period and pilgrims could also buy both reserved and regular tickets through it.The app also provided information about passenger amenities available at the stations like parking lots, refreshment rooms, waiting rooms, book stall, food plaza, ATMs and train enquiry.

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2. Hi-Tech huts for devotees accommodation at Kumbh

On boarding and lodging facilities at Kumbh

300 hi-tech huts equipped with modern gadgets were set up in Vedic Tent City at Kumbh Mela for saints, devotees and visitors. 

Put in to three categories on the level of conveniences, they were named 'Narmada Kuti', 'Sabarmati Kuti' and 'Saraswati Kuti'.

The tent city also has an open restaurant. Considering that event is held during winter, the 'huts' have electric water heaters among other amenities.

 This is the first time that such special accommodation has been arranged at Kumbh.The entire Kumbh Mela was spread in 3,200 hectares.

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3. Kumbh Mela used AI for even garbage disposal in 2019

AI was even used for garbage disposal as an AI system routed the garbage collection vehicles, basis on bin sensor data and traffic flow inputs coming from Traffic Management System. 

500 Dustbins and 48 dumping locations were tracked through GPS.

The 1,100 CCTV cameras installed by Larsen & Toubro not only monitored the movement and density of crowd but the 'facial recognition' system also kept an eye on suspicious looking individuals.

 There were two Integrated Command and Control (ICC) sentres set-up, one each at Kumbh and PrayagRaj which provided the concerned authorities timely alerts.

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4. 'Go Safe Outside' waterproof sarees at Kumbh

On women safety at Kumbh

Unilever through it's renowned soap brand 'Hamam' (the word which is synonymous to bath or bathing) distributed waterproof sarees to women at Kumbh. 

The campaign titled '#GoSafeOutside' was aimed to make women safe, as they perform the rituals of Kumbh, most of which are associated with taking a dip in water.

The sarees were first distributed on Basant Panchmi day, which marks the arrival of spring, in bright colours of yellow with a green band, depicting the colours of spring. 

These sarees have been made aqua-phobic, in order to preserve the dignity of women, as they bath among large crowds, including males.

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5. World's largest temporary city with 250 Kms of roads at Kumbh

On logistics and transportation at Kumbh

UNESCO has  included Kumbh in the list of "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity".

The new city set up in the Mela area for devotees and pilgrims at Kumbh, has 250 km long roads and 22 pontoon bridges. This makes it the largest temporary city of the world. 

Also,for the first timeLED lights, 40,000 of them have been used to light up the entire Mela.The state government has spent more than Rs.2,800 crores on ensuring a successful event.

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6. Pre-5G, Massive MIMO technology kept the pilgrims 'connected' at Kumbh

On reliable mobile communication at Kumbh

Networks usually jam when a large number of people congregate at a single location in short period of time, besides inconvenience to users, this leads to a safety hazard also, as rumours can just fly off the shelf.Massive MIMO is a pre-5G technology that expands network capacity by five to seven times over the same spectrum and helps a large number of concurrent users to enjoy a seamless high speed data experience.

 Airtel deployed this technology at recently concluded Kumbh Mela for devotees and pilgrims.

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7. Well, Satellite did the actual head count at Kumbh

On planning and administration at Kumbh

For proper planning and administration, Kumbh Mela organisers deployed the latest satellite technology to keep track the number of people visiting various sites of Kumbh Mela in real time.

A satellite was deployed specially for the purpose to count the headcount in Mela area, which can then be used for proper planning of logistics like bus and trains.

Technology institutions like Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee, Moti Lal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MLNRT) and Indian Institution of Information Technology (IIIT), Prayagraj were involved along with with Google.

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8. Keeping families 'intact' through technology at Kumbh

On People Safety at Kumbh

At Kumbh Mela 2019, administration made operational 17 digital lost and found centres. T

hey were aimed to trace and reunite those who got separated from their families. Approximately 50,000 people were reunited with the help of these centres.

These centres provide shelter to those hapless people who get separated till they are reunited back. To ensure their safe return, policemen accompany them up to their home, even up to far away villages and cities in other states.

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9. Railways use AI for crowd control at Kumbh

On people management at Kumbh

For the  Ardh Kumbh at Allahabad (Prayagraj) which started from 15th January 2019 and concluded on 4th March 2019, Indian Railways  utilised artificial intelligence, for crowd control and safety.

With a vast network of CCTV cameras, combined with IBM’s video analytics service, Indian Railways watch the crowd and their safe movement across all the major stations around the venue.

The information gathered through video camera and analysed by IBM’s AI solution was then disseminate through a mobile app and displayed on LCD screens across stations.

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