India can be considered to be a land of religion. With a total of 330 million gods, goddesses being mentioned in the sacred Hindu scriptures it is natural that religion remains the cornerstone of the Hindu religion.

Hindu mythology considers the origin of the Magh Mela to be the beginning of the Universe.
A celebration of the origin on the universe, is one of the year’s most important religious affairs for Hindus. It falls every year during the Hindu month of Magh, which lasts from mid-January to mid-February. It involves bathing at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges and Yamuna, and lasts for 45 days.
It commences on the day of Makar Sankranti in January, which is the first important bathing day.  A large number of people arrive here annually and stay in makeshift houses or tents at the Sangam, spending the entire month of Magh in prayers. Every year during this period massive arrangements are made by the Uttar Pradesh Government for the devotees coming to Magh Mela. This include establishment of a temporary tented township, roads, transport services, water supply, electricity and sanitation facilities, medical and policing. This period is known as ‘Kalpvas’. Those who religiously observe the ‘Kalpvas’ are known as ‘Kalpvasis’. Ancient Hindu Vedas mention a ‘Kalp’ to be the period equal to the total number of years in the four yugas – Satyug, Treta, Dwapar and Kalyug. This adds up to several millions of years.

It is said that by piously observing a ‘Kalpavas’, a devotee overcomes the sins in his/her previous birth and escapes the cycle of Janma(birth) and Karma (actions). During each day of the Magh Mela, a Kalpvasi has to take a dip at the Ganges on sunrise praying to the rising sun. Majority of the Kalpvasis partake only a meal a day. After observing 12 Kalpavas, a Kalpavasi has to donate his/her bed and all his belongings (a ritual known as “Shayya Daan”).

ery twelfth year, the Magh Mela is transformed into the Kumbh Mela. The Magh Mela is a smaller version of Kumbh Mela, which occurs once every three years (the last one was in 2013). It is considered the largest peaceful gathering in the world.

This year, 3.17 crore pilgrims are expected to take a holy dip in Sangam on the main bathing days of Magh Mela. Over six crore devotees are expected to visit the mela in the 42-day annual fair which would be organised from January 12 to February 24.
A maximum number of 90 lakh devotees are expected to visit on Mauni Amawasya falling on January 27 followed by 65 lakh on Makar Sakranti on January 14. The third most important bathing day being Basant Panchmi when over 60 lakh people are expected to take a holy dip.
Magh Mela administration signs up for ‘Green Space’ on premises. For the first time, the Magh Mela administration has decided to provide adequate space to potters and makers of leaf plates on the mela premises. This is being done to promote the use of kulhars (earthen cups) and dona pattal (leaf plates) at the much-awaited religious event, which starts January 12.

The potters and leaf plates makers would be given space in Parade and Jhunsi areas so that there is no shortage of kulhars and dona-pattals during the 44-day event.

The mela administration has invited potters and leaf plate-makers, who would camp for over a month, from Trans-Yamuna belt.
This year Magh Mela is going to be spiritual tourism hot spot as it is being the center of attraction for Thai tourists. If all goes as per plan, the annual month-long religious fair of Magh Mela organised at the banks of Sangam, would become a ‘spiritual tourism’ hotspot for thousands of Buddhists coming from Thailand.

To boost revenue, the state government is keen on attracting as many as 80,000 tourists visiting Buddhist Circuitto Magh Mela, said officials. A one-man delegation, comprising the district magistrate, was in Thailand to talk to official tour operators and government departments, in this regard. The Thai officials, who claimed to have heard about Magh Mela for the first time, have decided to send a team during this year’s fair to judge the scope of tourism, climate and geographical location of the city, says DM Sanjay Kumar, who recently returned from Thailand.