Source: Indian Express
MUMBAI, INDIA, December 6, 2000: An estimated 250,000 sadhus and 700,000 pilgrims are expected to visit Trimbakeshwar in the Himalayas for a holy bath between July 30, 2003, and August 26, 2004, when Nashik hosts the Kumbh Mela. Dates will be ratified at a meeting on January 14 at Allahabad. According to the dates declared, the Sinhasta Kumbh period begins at 11:51 am on July 30, 2003, and will conclude at 11:49 pm on August 26, 2004. There will be 20 occasions for holy baths during the 13 months. Along with pilgrims, there are about 19 Mahants and 22 Akhadas of hermits of Vaishnav and Saiva sects who are expected to participate in the mela and government agencies estimate an expenditure of about US$65.2 million to accommodate the crowds, including improvements to the mela area. The Kumbh Mela is held once every four years at one of four holy places in India -- ie, Haridwar, Prayag, Ujjain and Nashik. The 2001 gathering in Prayag (Allahabad) is expected to be the largest single gathering of human beings in history.