Book Cover


Kumbh Mela
Mapping the Ephemeral Megacity
Paper Type: Art Paper (Matt) | Size: 227 x 170mm
All colour; 883 photographs and 57 maps; 452 pages; Hardback
ISBN-10: 9385285076 | ISBN-13: 978-93-85285-07-3

 1995
 

Kumbh Mela is the largest religious celebration on earth and the biggest public gathering in the world. The resulting settlement is a virtual mega city! The Kumbh Mela deploys its own roads, pontoon bridges as well as tents serving as residences and venues for spiritual meetings, and social infrastructure such as hospitals, sanitation outlets and vaccination clinics—all replicating the functions of an actual city. The pop-up settlement seamlessly serves upto seven million people, who gather for 55 days, and an additional flux of 10 to 20 million people, who come for 24-hour cycles on the six main bathing dates. In 2013, a team from Harvard University, representing faculty from multiple disciplines, researched the large-scale event from its preparation to the actual celebration itself. This was the first systematic study on the Mela as a City: a planned entity, and covers issues of social inclusion, diversity, and even democracy that emerge under the framework of a neutralizing grid of roads that is the organizing armature of the city. This subdivision of the city forms clusters of freedom and facilitates space for individual and group expression. The volume presents the comprehensive research findings and includes city maps, aerial images, analytical drawings and photographs of this spectacular Ephemeral Mega City for the Kumbh Mela.



Felipe Vera
Felipe Vera
Author

Felipe Vera is the director of the ‘Center for Ecology, Landscape and Urbanism’ and a associate professor at the DesignLab of Universidad Adolfo Ibañez in Chile. His research and design work focuses on issues of urban planning and design in the emerging contexts of the Global South. He has extensively published about key issues related to urbanization below the line of the equator. Felipe holds a Bachelor in Architecture and Urbanism from the School of Architecture at University of Chile and a Post- Professional Master in Design Studies from Harvard at the Harvard GSD.

Rahul Mehrotra
Rahul Mehrotra
Author

Rahul Mehrotra is a practising architect and educator. He works in Mumbai and teaches at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, where he is Professor of Urban Design and Planning, and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design as well as a member of the steering committee of Harvard’s South Asia Initiative. His practice, RMA Architects (www.RMAarchitects.com), founded in 1990, has executed a range of projects across India. Mehrotra has written, co-authored and edited a vast repertoire of books on Mumbai, its urban history, its historic buildings, public spaces and planning processes.