Essential Travel Tips For the Maha Kumbha Mela, India 2010

The Maha Kumbh Mela is much less well known than the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games or the World Cup of soccer, and for each city that hosts this Hindu pilgrimage, the event comes around about as often. However, the Maha Kumbh Mela can see visitor numbers up to three times the entire population of Australia. With that many people around, there are all sorts of reasons to update your travel insurance if you will be in India near the Kumbh Mela in 2010. Today we look at the potential risks centering on the event, and what level of online travel insurance is recommended for visitors to India over the 3 months of the festival.

About the Maha Kumbha Mela

The Maha Kumbh Mela, usually shortened just to the Kumbh Mela (as the first word changes), is a Hindu pilgrimages attended by holy men and women across India. People come to a set city, indicated by planetary positions. It is said to be an auspicious festival to attend, and so attracts people from all walks of life. The festival can be attended by any number from 10 million to 80 million participants, and in recent years there have been around 1 million people attending from outside of India. There can be millions of people in a given spot for the festival on the important bathing days.

Potential Security Issues

India in general is subject to a high level of terrorist threat, and awareness of these issues has been heightened after the terrorist attacks on tourist-related areas in Mumbai in November 2008.

Although the Maha Kumbh Mela is being held in Haridwar district, rather than Mumbai, most travel in and out of the country in concentrated in Mumbai. Haridwar is also in close proximity to the troubled states of Assam, Nagaland, Tripura and Manipur – all are in the mnorth of the country. The highest level of travel insurance cover will help protect you from harm in these northern areas.

Potential Logistical Issues

The millions of people that flood into the Kumbh Mela areas during the religious festival place plenty of pressure on infrastructure! It is sensible to book accommodation as far in advance as you can, and to travel lightly, with only what you absolutely need. Carrying your luggage on the plane will help avoid any disturbances at the airport, and logistics-related travel insurance will cover the rest.

Recommended Level of Travel Insurance

On a per capita basis, the possibility of being caught up in terrorist or politically motivated crime in India is relatively small. Still, the Australian government has set its threat level to ‘High degree of caution’ for travelers going to India.

  • Medical travel insurance cover is certainly recommended – India is a developing country and gastric diseases, as well more exotic diseases that are rare in Australia, are common. Not all can be vaccinated against.
  • Logistics-related travel insurance cover is recommended, because of the enormous number of people that will be attending the Kumbh Mela. According to the Australian Government, petty crime is quite common in India, so travel insurance plans that cover you for loss or theft of personal belongings should be mandatory
  • Cautious travelers could make use of the highest level of travel insurance cover, mostly for the catastrophe cover and mugging benefit that it provides.