In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, Kumbh Mela 2021, one of the most sacred events for Hindus, is restricted to 30 days this year. The Uttarakhand Government has recently announced that Kumbh Mela to be held from 1st to 30th April. Uttarakhand Chief Secretary Om Prakash said that the decision to reduce the duration of the Kumbh was taken on account of the concern that with a gathering of people Haridwar can become a hot spot for Covid-19 infections.
Om Prakash also informed that a notice will be issued by the end of March to the authorities responsible for hosting the Mela every year. The Health Ministry has earlier issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that made it mandatory for pilgrims to submit a negative RT-PCR test report with test date 72 hours prior to the date of visit, identification proof and medical certificate to receive passes that permit entry to the event.
Every devotee will have to register themselves on the web portal of Mahakumbh Mela, 2021 first. A complete ban has been imposed this year on crowd puller events like organically singing bhajans and organizing Bhandara in the entire Mela area. Only shops of essential commodities such as medicine, food, dairy, puja paraphernalia, and blankets are allowed to be opened during the Mela to avoid unnecessary crowding and maintain social distance.
Maximum 20 minutes of time will be given for any devotee or group of devotees for the holy bath. All personnel deployed in Bath Ghat will be equipped with PPE kit and will follow all safety measures. A network of CCTV cameras has been installed to monitor the crowd and maintain social distance. Vulnerable populations above 65 years of age, children and pregnant women are not allowed for the Kumbh Mela this year.