In a massive diplomatic exercise, the Ministry of External Affairs has invited the entire diplomatic corps from New Delhi were invited to visit Prayagraj to show them the preparations underway for the Kumbh Mela. As many as 70 diplomats responded to the invitation and attended day-long visit, yesterday.
This has reflected the intention of Narendra Modi government at the center and also Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, to make Kumbh Mela of Prayagraj (Allahabad), an epicentre of pan-Asian cultures. Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself conducted a review of arrangements later today.
The visit has attracted the international attention towards the globe to participate in the two-month festivities that commence a month from now, on January 15. To promote the mammoth event on the global stage, MEA this visit for over 70 Delhi-based foreign missions to witness the preparations of the mega pilgrimage, where 15 crore people are expected to congregate.
Minister of State General V K Singh led the delegation of diplomats. “More than 70 Heads of Missions based in Delhi are on board a special flight to Prayagraj to witness Kumbh Mela in the making, Massive preparations are underway for the UNESCO inscribed ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ festival of peace & harmony,” Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said earlier in the day.
Dean of Diplomatic Corps Hans Dannenberg Castellanos, who represents more than 150 foreign missions in the country, said, “The visit was extremely well organised by both the UP government, as well as the MEA. Kudos… for having the vision [to get us to] personally experience what so many of our citizens come to India to experience.”
The Uttar Pradesh government has asked the Centre to bear half the Rs 4,200 crore cost of the Ardh Kumbh. The last full Kumbh Mela, in 2013, cost less than a third of the amount estimated for the upcoming event.