• Welcome address by Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Director, CSMVS Museum
  • Introductory remarks by Vikram Gandhi, Founder, Asha Impact
  • Panel discussion between Harvard faculty leaders Diana Eck and Satchit Balsari; and administrators at the 2013 Kumbh Mela — Divisional Commissioner of Allahabad, Devesh Chaturvedi, and Alok Sharma, Inspector General of Police, Allahabad,; facilitated by Rahul Mehrotra.

The Kumbh Mela has become the largest public gathering in the world — drawing tens of millions of pilgrims over the course of a few weeks. The most recent observance of the festival took place from January 14 to February 25, 2013 in Allahabad, with an estimated attendance of over 80 million people.

Because of its size and complexity, the 2013 Kumbh Mela inspired the Harvard South Asia Institute’s flagship multi-year interdisciplinary research project in a number of complementary fields: business, technology and communications, urban studies and design, religious and cultural studies, and public health. Over 50 Harvard professors, students, administrative staff, and medical practitioners made the pilgrimage to Allahabad, India to analyse issues that emerge in any large-scale human gathering. The panel will discuss their experience studying the world’s largest festival, and lessons learned for future research.