Understanding Crowd Dynamics in Processions during Mass Religious Gatherings A case study of Shahi Snan in Kumbh Mela


  • H Gayathri Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India
  • Siddhartha Gulhare Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India
  • Ashish Verma Department of Civil Engineering and Robert Bosch Centre for Cyber Physical Systems, Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, India




group behaviour, pedestrian, mass religious gatherings, crowd risk, india


Large people gatherings in public places exhibit crowd dynamics that are quite complex. Such mass events with high densities are fraught with potentially serious consequences if not understood and managed properly. In mass religious processions, the participants in the crowd are emotional and mostly impulsive and often crowd disasters occur due to the behaviour of the crowd. These events have great potential to cause safety hazards to the people. This paper attempts to narrate the typical situations of crowd dynamics observed in the Kumbh Mela procession-2016 and to describe the characteristics of the crowd that have not been reported in literature so far but have a significant impact on the crowd. Extreme crowd pressures resulting in individual loss control due to psychological and physiological factors, heterogeneity in the crowd, group behaviour and their induced competitiveness, unexpected behaviour exhibited due to the motivation behind participating in such procession makes it a typical crowd concentrated event to study the potentially critical dynamics of crowd. Physical and psychological forces acting on the people and their resulting dynamics of crowd in the Kumbh Mela procession 2016 lead to serpentine behaviour, which can possibly lead to crowd crushes, or any such crowd risk situations. Therefore, the characteristics of crowd participating in the Kumbh Mela procession have to be clearly understood so that it helps in better planning and well-organized movement patterns.


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How to Cite

Gayathri, H., Gulhare, S., & Verma, A. (2020). Understanding Crowd Dynamics in Processions during Mass Religious Gatherings A case study of Shahi Snan in Kumbh Mela. Collective Dynamics, 5, 403–412. https://doi.org/10.17815/CD.2020.76



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