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Anubhuti Vishnoi | ET Bureau | New Delhi | 27 Oct, 2015:: After Yoga, the next thing that the Modi government could take to global attention is the famous Kumbh festival. The mass Hindu pilgrimage could soon be nominated by the Indian government for inscription on the global Intangible Cultural Heritage list by Unesco. The first move has already been made.
A formal written proposal has been made by a trustee of the Trimbakeshwar Devatsthan Trust and submitted to the Union ministry of culture. Culture minister Mahesh Sharma confirmed to ET that he is closely examining the proposal to take it ahead.
“We have received a formal proposal in written and request from some groups to nominate the Kumbh Mela as Intangible Cultural Heritage under Unesco. Kumbh is something exclusive and unique to our country and definitely worth considering. The proposal is under examination by the culture ministry which will now consider issues like which category to nominate it under and other finer points necessary to take it ahead,” Sharma told ET.
India has already nominated Yoga for inclusion as intangible heritage in 2016. One of those who has proposed nominating the Kumbh to the world heritage sites register is Lalita Shinde, Trustee of the Trimbakeshwar Devatsthan Trust — the ancient temple that houses 12 jyotirlingas and is also the site for the famous Kumbh festival.
“The Kumbh Mela is a unique part of culture and heritage where no one needs an invitation to come and where no one is asked his name or caste. The whole world should know about it so we want to propose it be declared a world heritage site. We have been advised that it should be nominated in the intangible heritage category of the Unesco register. We met the culture minister and have submitted a proposal on the same and hope to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi also for the same,” Lalita Shinde, trustee with the Trimbakeshwar Devatsthan Trust told ET.
The Simhastha Kumbha Mela was organised only last month in Nashik and Trimbakeshwar. The Kumbh Festival is held at Nashik-Trimbakeshwar, at the banks of river Godavari, Prayag (Allahabad) — the confluence of the rivers Ganga-Yamuna and the invisible Saraswati, at Haridwar on the banks of the Ganga and at Ujjain at the Kshipra river. While the Kumbh is held every 12 years, the Ardh Kumbh is held at Prayag and Haridwar after every six years.
The Kumbh festival attracts a record number of pilgrims from all over the country. Eleven elements from India have so far been inscribed on Unesco’s lists of Intangible Cultural Heritage and inscription helps in demonstrating the diversity of heritage and also generates global awareness and attention for the same.