Jan 23, 2013

purna kumbh mela

with the powerlines and streetlike aspect, this looks like a desert village. in fact, it is a view of sector 8 of the purna kumbh mela site. located on a floodplain just outside the city of allahabad in uttar pradesh, until a few weeks ago the site lay under the waters of the ganga and yamuna rivers. kilometers of steelplate roadway, thousands of tents, hundreds of public toilets and utility poles, and many temporary bridges have been built since december to make the site habitable for the event's 55-day duration.

the mela continues through the end of february but we're headed back to cambridge, ma today, scoured clean of karmic debt by the chilly waters of the ganga. the mela site's floodplain infrastructure and population continues to grow as the main bathing days approach, something the many vendors and entrepreneurs are counting on. a temporary city accommodating between 2 and 10 million people at any given time is a place to learn (among other things) about how to design more adaptable cities and communities: a topic for deeper consideration.

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