India’s Kumbh Mela has been recognised by UNESCO as an “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” and held up as the world’s largest peaceful gathering of pilgrims.
The external affairs ministry announced that the recognition was accorded by the Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage, an entity which works under UNESCO.
“The Inter-governmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage under UNESCO inscribed the ‘Kumbh Mela’ on the Representative List of
Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity during its 12th session held at Jeju, South Korea,” the MEA said.
While recommending the Kumbh Mela, the expert committee observed it was the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth.
“The committee observed that ‘Kumbh Mela’ is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth. The festival, held in Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik, represents a syncretic set of rituals related to worship and ritual cleansing in holy rivers in India,” the MEA said.
“As a religious festival, the tolerance and inclusiveness that Kumbh Mela demonstrates are especially valuable for the contemporary world,” the MEA said in its statement.
“A very proud moment for us as sacred Kumbh Mela is just inscribed as the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO,” Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma tweeted.
The Kumbh Mela joins new elements from Botswana, Colombia, Venezuela, Mongolia, Morocco, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates on the UNESCO list.