India bans selfies at Kumbh Mela

Ban will be imposed on the days when people bathe in the sacred Godavari River


Web Desk September 02, 2015
Sadhus or Hindu holy men pray along the Godavari river during the first "Shahi Snan" (grand bath) at "Kumbh Mela", or Pitcher Festival in Nashik, India, August 29, 2015. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus took part in the religious gathering at the banks of the Godavari river in Nashik city at the festival, which is held every 12 years in different Indian cities. PHOTO: REUTERS

Indian authorities have declared the Kumbh Mela a “no slefie zone” fearing it could cause stampede, BBC reported.

The Kumbh Mela — a celebration of faith in which Hindus bathe in the sacred river — is held every third year and is rotated between four holy sites. The festival began in mid-July and runs until late September.

According to the authorities, the ban will be imposed on the days when people bathe in the Godavari River.

Read: Tens of thousands take holy dip at India's Kumbh Mela

The decision to ban selfies at the festival was taken after a study revealed that people take too long in snaping pictures, which slows down the flow of people and ultimately could lead to pushing, panic and even stampedes.

The study was conducted by over 100 volunteers on behalf of the Kumbhathon group which works with the authorities to help monitor the festival.

"Since July 13, our volunteers on the field have been collecting data which showed that people stop to take selfies. They also climb to dangerous spots to take selfies," Kumbhathon CEO Sandip Shinde told the Indian Express.

However, local official Dr Pravin Gedam told the paper that the ban would be imposed at the holy dip only as they did not want to take away the festive mood.

Read: 27 crushed to death at Kumbh Mela in India

The Kumbh Mela has its origins in Hindu mythology, which describes how a few drops of the nectar of immortality fell on all the places that host the festival, the fourth being Ujjain in central India.

Between eight to ten million pilgrims are expected to attend the two-month-long Hindu festival this year.

There are two main bathing dates left, on September 13 and September 18.

COMMENTS (1)

The Book Says | 6 years ago | Reply "The decision to ban selfies at the festival was taken after a study revealed that people take too long in snaping pictures, which slows down the flow of people and ultimately could lead to pushing, panic and even stampedes." Really? What about other modern techniques for crowd control and pedestrian traffic management, why not employ those? With an land of 1.25 billions, India needs to look into this to avoid loss of life.
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