The Kumbh Mela is a Hindu religious festival that occurs every twelve years at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers in the city of Allahabad. Since its inception early in the first millennium CE, the Kumbh Mela has become the largest public gathering in the world; today it draws tens of millions of pilgrims over the course of a few weeks to bathe in the auspicious rivers. The Mela provides a forum for both individual and collective expressions of faith as pilgrims, religious teachers, and followers of monastic orders converge from all parts of India. The Mela also inspires interdisciplinary research in a number of complementary fields. Pilgrimage and religious studies, public health, design, communications, business, and infrastructure engineering converge at this festival, producing a complex atmosphere that can be understood through rigorous documentation and mapping, both on-site and in post-field processing. The last iteration of the festival took place from January 27-February 25, 2013.
Rahul Mehrotra is Professor of Urban Design and Planning and Chair of the Department of Urban Planning and Design. He is a practicing architect, urban designer, and educator. Mehrotra has written and lectured extensively on issues to do with architecture, conservation, and urban planning in Mumbai and India. His writings include coauthoring Bombay—The Cities Within, which covers the city’s urban history from the 1600s to the present; Banganga—Sacred Tank; Public Places Bombay; Anchoring a City Line, a history of the city’s commuter railway; and Bombay to Mumbai—Changing Perspectives. He has also coauthored Conserving an Image Center—The Fort Precinct in Bombay. Based on this study and its recommendations, the historic Fort area in Mumbai was declared a conservation precinct in 1995—the first such designation in India. Mehrotra is a member of the steering committee of the South Asia Initiative at Harvard, and curates their series on Urbanization. He currently is leading a university wide research project with Professor Diana Eck, called The Kumbh Mela – Mapping the Ephemeral City. Co-sponsored by India Initiatives, BU Global Programs
Time: 5:30 pm -7:00 pm on Thursday, March 27, 2014
Location: Barristers’ Hall, Boston University Law School, 765 Commonwealth Avenue, 1st floor