Maha Kumbh Mela: Now a Harvard University case study

Maha Kumbh Meala

The outcomes by each school's research team would be presented by students and faculty at a university-side symposium hosted by the South Asia Initiative in the spring semester 2013, and will be submitted for a final visual and textual publication.

Plaster said the religious gathering caught Harvard's attention as it saw the Kumbh Mela as a "unique opportunity to study the formation and inner-workings of a pop-up mega city."

"Where recently there was nothing but a barren flood plain there will soon be a thriving 'city' complete with hospitals, sanitation systems, markets and police.

"The Kumbh has always operated in this capacity, but for a variety of reasons, the 2013 festival represents a significant shift towards seeing the festival as a seminal academic learning environment," he added.

With the Maha Kumbh Mela taking place once every 12 years, the year 2013 marks the first Kumbh which would be criss-crossed with cell phone towers and where a critical mass of people would be using mobile phones.

"That environment creates a unique opportunity for researchers interested in studying big data. They'll be looking into questions like how anonymised cell phone data can assist in infectious disease mapping," Plaster said.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.