UNESCO declares Kumbh Mela as India's 'Intangible Cultural Heritage'

The Kumbh Mela held in Allahabad Haridwar Ujjain and Nasik represents a syncretic set of rituals related to worship and cleansing in holy rivers

The Kumbh Mela held in Allahabad Haridwar Ujjain and Nasik represents a syncretic set of rituals related to worship and cleansing in holy rivers

The meeting took place in Jeju Island, Republic of Korea.

The Ministry of External Affairs said the inscription of "Kumbh Mela" in the list was undertaken following recommendation by an expert body which examines nominations submitted by member countries of the UNESCO. The annual congregation of pilgrims was one of the 33 new additions this year.

The decision was made at the 12th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage taking place at the island's International Convention Center from December 4-9.

The decision was taken in Seoul on Thursday at a session of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage. Knowledge and skills relating to Kumbh Mela are mainly imparted through the teacher-student relationship, but transmission and safeguarding are also ensured through oral traditions and religious and historical texts.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was amongst the first to react and he tweeted, "A matter of vast joy and pride for India,".

"We are very proud of our reputation for creativity and music traditions; a reputation which is greatly enhanced by our craftspeople who have passed their love of music and talent from generation to generation down through the centuries".

The inscription of elements on the list helps countries which are a part of UNESCO's convention for safeguarding cultural heritage to mobilise global cooperation and assistance for ensuring that communities continue to practise and transmit such aspects of their heritage. "The festival, held in Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik, represents a syncretic set of rituals related to worship and ritual cleansing in holy rivers in India", the MEA said.

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