Lucknow: After Uttar Pradesh played host to the world's largest religious congregation during Mahakumbh in Allahabad, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan have been invited by the Harvard University to share the story of organising the 55-day event.
Azam Khan, who was in charge of the Mela, has said that they have been invited by the Harvard University and information department sources indicated on Sunday that preparations are afoot for their visit next month.
A team from Harvard comprising 50 members had visited Kumbh in January to study and analyse the rituals, arrangements and management of the religious congregation, the sources said.
Khan termed it as a "matter of honour for the state" and an acknowledgement of the successful management at Kumbh. While informing the state Assembly about the invite during a discussion earlier this month on a stampede during Kumbh mela, Khan had said, "I and Chief Minister Akhilesh have been invited by the Harvard University. Although it's still not certain whether we will go or not."
Pilgrims had camped in the sprawling Kumbh Mela ground spread over an area of about 6000 acres. Held at the Sangam every 12 years, the Maha Kumbh of 2013 is likely to be remembered for the largest ever turnout of three crore pilgrims for the Mauni Amavasya festival on February 10.
However, a stampede broke out later in the day at the Allahabad Junction railway station, which was bursting at the seams with pilgrims.
The stampede claimed 38 lives. In all, including the stampedes and fire incidents, over 45 lives were lost during the Maha Kumbh.