Comfort at the Kumbh Mela

Anjali Jhangiani
Sunday, 6 January 2019

Online health and wellness portal AyurUniverse has partnered with Kumbh Mela 2019 to provide visitors with a variety of accommodation options to choose from, according to their budget

The Kumbh Mela is a Hindu pilgrimage held every 12 years on the banks of the Triveni Sangam, which is the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati rivers in Prayagraj (previously known as Allahabad). The event attracts visitors not only from across the country, but from across the world. The fair is known to be one of the largest peaceful gatherings in the world where people of Hindu faith gather and bathe in the rivers, as they believe that it will cleanse their sins. Over the years, this confluence has also been the site of immersion of ashes of several national leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi in 1948.

This year, with over 15 crore people expected to visit the festival that will take place from January 15 to March 4, the preparations include 800 special trains by Indian Railways, a temporary city made over 25 km with surveillance, and over 1,00,000 temporary toilets. 

To offer visitors a range of accommodation options to choose from according to their budget, AyurUniverse, an online health and wellness portal founded by Vijay Kumar Karai in 2016, and accredited by the Ministry of Tourism, has tied up with Kumbh Mela 2019. Here, Karai tells us more about this association. 

Why did you decide to associate with Kumbh Mela 2019?
This mega event attracts visitors from around the world who come to take a holy dip in the sangam. The Kumbh Mela is a unique spiritual experience that attract crores of people from around the world. Finding safe and reliable accommodation that offers 24x7 security and a trusted booking partner, is crucial for these devotees. AyurUniverse promises a spiritual, multi-sensory experience at the Kumbh Mela 2019 and gives you a first-hand experience to the spiritual aspect of this mega event.

How does this partnership work for the Kumbh Mela, AyurUniverse and the visitors?
AyurUniverse offers customers an easy, secure and reliable platform that allows them to search, choose and book from government-approved tent providers and verified hotels, and the opportunity to experience this life-changing event seamlessly, without any intermediaries. 

Tell us about the types of packages available.
We offer over 65 different packages from government-approved tent providers located near the Triveni Sangam as well as with verified hotels in Prayagraj, specifically for Kumbh Mela 2019. These packages will be a mixture of luxury, mid-scale and budget tents, dormitories. We have also partnered with various hotels, which have been personally verified by us, who offer unique Kumbh packages. 

Have you seen a change in the demographics of the visitors at this event during the last few years?
Kumbh Mela attracts sadhus (saints) and naga sadhus who practise ‘sadhana’ and keenly follow a strict path of spiritual discipline, hermits who only leave their seclusion and come out only during the Kumbh Mela, seekers of spirituality and Hindu devotees. The Kumbh Mela was declared as an ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO, giving it world-wide status. Besides Indians, we have received large number of requests from US, UK and Australia for this year’s Kumbh Mela. 

This year, the Kumbh Mela 2019 is expected to see a footfall of over 15 crore people. The UP Government had announced that while previously Kumbh Mela was organised in 5000 acres of land, this time it has increased to 10,000 acres. 

Popular notion suggests that only senior citizens are interested in wellness tourism. Do you observe otherwise?
Absolutely. Attitudes to wellness among the younger generation have changed a lot. Whether it is taking a wellness holiday, going on Yoga retreats or choosing alternate healing, more and more people understand the importance of a digital detox and self-care. At AyurUniverse, we see a good mix of customers ranging from ages 40-60, while yoga enthusiasts looking for a Yoga Teacher Training programme or to attend a Yoga Retreat can be as young as 25 years. 

How popular is wellness tourism in India?
The wellness tourism in India is on a massive upheaval. As the birthplace of traditional wellness systems like Yoga, Meditation and Ayurveda, India’s wellness offerings are in demand. Traditional Ayurvedic therapies, healthy eating, Yoga and meditation, Pranayama, de-stress and self-care, holistic healing are some of the experiences sought by wellness travellers from around the world. Ayurveda is an excellent system to tackle de-stress, rejuvenate and detoxify the body holistically and effectively. It also offers excellent solutions for various health ailments like Diabetes, Arthritis, Obesity and much more.  

With a customer base from over 190 countries, AyurUniverse provides access to over 2500 wellness packages from across 300 verified wellness centres in India, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Which other places/events are popular for wellness tourism?
Countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand and Bali are also popular for wellness tourism. In the West, Costa Rica, Hawaii and Italy are some of the other popular wellness destinations.

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