Number of participants at the T. Narsipur Kumbh Mela is on the rise
Even as the Maha Kumbh Mela, reckoned as the largest gathering of people in the world, gets under way at Prayag in Allahabad, drawing the devout and the curious from all over the world, the stage is being prepared for a smaller version at T. Narsipur in February.
The T. Narsipur Kumbh Mela, being held from February 23 to 25, began around 20 years ago and is held once in three years.
Unlike the story of ‘samudra manthan’ or the churning of the cosmic ocean by the gods and the demons for divine nectar, associated with the Maha Kumbh in Prayag, Ujjain, Haridwar and Nasik, this site in Mysore district has no mythological significance.
And, not surprisingly, the attendance at T. Narsipur Kumbh Mela is not a patch on the numbers that the Maha Kumbh attracts.
But, visitors to the T. Narsipur Kumbh are definitely on the rise. From the feeble response it received in 1989, when it was first conceived, the numbers rose to nearly three lakh in 2010. The figure is expected to further rise this time.
The initiative to organise a Kumbh mela at T. Narsipur was taken by Shivpuri Swami of Kailash ashram, supported by Shivaratri Deshikendra Swami of Suttur Math.
According to them, the event would provide an opportunity for the devout in the Mysore region to participate in rituals such as taking a dip in the river during an auspicious time, as not many could participate in the Maha Kumbh.
As T. Narsipur is at the confluence of three rivers — the Cauvery, the Kapila and the mythical Spatika Sarovar — they ordained that the Kumbh mela there would have the same sanctity as the one at Prayag, which is also considered a ‘triveni sangama’ (confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati).
The district administration is gearing up for the ninth edition of the event and a review meeting to oversee preparations has been held.
With the State government providing support, focus will be on creating temporary toilets, sprucing up bathing ghats and making improvements to temples to host religious conferences and cultural events.
T. Narsipur, which is known as Dakshina Kashi, is also the site for Panchalinga Darshana, which draws large crowds.
For the local community, despite the large crowds, such events are welcome as the infrastructure is shored up.