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Re-Imagining Kumbh Mela

Year-round Innovation Sandbox
For Entrepreneurs, Change Makers & Companies

This is not just a hackathon or a competition. This innovation sandbox aims to identify and address the challenges of cities in developing countries. In August 2015, Nashik, located 2 hours from Mumbai,  will host the Kumbh Mela with 30 million visitors. This gives innovators and social entrepreneurs the opportunity to learn, develop and test solutions to “pop-up city” problems at scale in Nashik and later, world-wide.

The Global Kumbh Challenge
Innovations for a Pop-up City
January 24-30, 2015
Nashik, INDIA
Teams: Jan 24-25

Inaguration: Jan 26-27

Field and Build: Jan 26-30

Closing: Jan 30


KumbhaThon1, Jan 2014

KumbhaThon2, July 2014

KumbhaThon3, Aug 2014

Hyderabad 2013 workshop to solve eye
Mumbai 2014 workshop to solve health
Commissioner of Police interaction

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Associate Partners


Natarajan Chandrasekaran,

CEO and Managing Director, Tata Consultancy Services

"Tata Consultancy Services pioneers the use of advanced data analytics to solve high-stake societal challenges in innovative ways. I am excited by MIT’s efforts to re-imagine the Kumbh-Mela and eagerly look forward to the synergetic collaboration of the TCS team of research scientists, engineers and strategy mangers along with MIT to build a sustainable mobile cloud computing infrastructure that can form the backbone of innovative efforts in the areas of food, cashless payments, epidemic tracking, civic infrastructure and more."

Sophie Vandebroek,

Xerox Chief Technology Officer and President of the Xerox Innovation Group

“Xerox is deeply committed to smart city initiatives and I am delighted to see the KumbhMela city-wide innovation taking shape. Researchers at Xerox are addressing a wide range of urban challenges using a combination of mobile sensing, crowdsourcing, and prescriptive analytics to create actionable insights for cities and their citizens. Our research team in Bangalore is looking forward to collaborating with MIT during the Kumbhathon in Nasik and pilot innovations that will make a positive difference for rapidly growing communities.”

Srikanth Nadhamuni

CEO & Co-founder Khosla Labs

"Kumbh Mela - the largest congregation of humans in the planet brings with it monumental logistical challenges. India's Aadhaar identity platform provides the opportunity to create innovative technology solutions to address these. My role as head-of-technology for Aadhaar has led me to launch the current Aadhaar Incubator program that we run at Khosla Labs. We would like to invite select Kumbhathon spin-outs to our incubator to build imaginative yet robust solutions for this most traditional of Indian endeavors!"

Stephen Kennedy Smith

”I am excited to see the Kumbh Mela city-wide develop in Nashik India.  I am looking forward to supporting the Kumbhathon in Nashik and having a lasting impact on India through this effort.”

Chris Sanders

Health Innovator & Entrepreneur

“I’m really excited for the opportunity to work with this talented group of young innovators in Nashik to share ideas and experiences that will no doubt set off a new wave of social innovation and transformation felt both locally and around the world.” 

Zenia Tata,

Program Director, Global Development, X-Prize

"X-Prize is deeply committed to innovation initiatives and I am excited to see the KumbhMela city-wide innovation develop. X-Prize is looking forward to participating in Kumbhathon in Nasik and having a lasting impact in India through this effort."

Charles L. Cooney

Professor of Chemical Engineering Emeritus , and Faculty Director, Emeritus Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation

The involvement of MIT Faculty and students in the KumbhMela city-wide innovation develop in Nashik, India speaks to our desire to link science and technology to social impact by addressing pressing global problems. This initiative benefits MIT by defining challenges to be solved and the global community through innovative solutions to important problems.Add Testimonial here

Tarun Khanna,

Director, South Asia Institute, Harvard University Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, Harvard Business School

“The maha kumbh mela in Allahabad in January through March 2013 was super-inspirational for a medley of academics studying it from so many angles.  It has proven to be the intellectual gift that keeps on giving! We wish the Nasik team much success.”


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