Kumbh Mela,
mapping the ephemeral megacity

Allahabad, India

Rahul Mehrotra et Felipe Vera

architects, Mumbai / Santiago


The ephemeral megacity as a resilient model of urban management

The religious festival of Purna Kumbh Mela, which takes place every 12 years on the banks of the Ganges, is the largest temporary gathering on the planet. Last time it was held, in 2013, it attracted over 100 million pilgrims over a period of three weeks.
The temporary megacity thus created demands very careful planning and construction—bridges and pontoons, tents, power cables and health services. Specific governance structures are also set up in cooperation with the religious authorities. Responding to these unusual conditions, this gigantic and well-managed temporary installation offers valuable lessons in efficiency and reversibility in the way we design contempo- rary cities.


photographs : © Felipe Vera / © Dinesh Mehta / © Drhuv Kazi