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What is KumbhaThon?


Kumbhathon is a year-round initiative to identify and address the challenges of cities in developing countries. The next buildathon, Kumbhathon4, for Kumbh Mela 2015 is on Jan 24-30, 2015. It is NOT a traditional hackathon or a competition. After months of preparation, Kumbhathon4 brings together week long ideating and prototyping marathon as part of a year long process. The first day covers tech talks by renowned industrialists and technological evangelists. This is followed by a deep engagement with stake holders of KumbhaMela. It is a great platform to make your stagnant ideas take shape. So what are you waiting for? Apply to Participate.


Who is organizing this event?

= The workshop is organized by MIT (USA), fellows of MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design, MIT Media Lab, iNDOVATION Nashiks, Circle & Sandip Foundation in association with all Engineering colleges of Nashik in collaborations with IIT Bombay, IIT Madras, PESIT Instructors, Reliance Innovation Lab, MKCL, KHANDBAHALE.COM, NMC, NIMA, District Government, Maharashtra Police, CSI, IEEE & few other stakeholders like Taxy Uniun, Hotel Owners, relevant NGOs & Associations etc.


Plus many companies and organizations like Xerox, TCS, Google, Colgate, Xprize and more are participating.


What is the goal of the event?

= Our goal is to create new 'Impact Entrepreneurs' via an open innovation platform. Many projects will be explored well beyond the workshop, with serious mentoring, funding and working space. With seed funding, we hope to convert the ideas and prototypes, into working solutions. They will be put through rigorous design and evaluation, followed by testing and deployment.


I have heard this workshop is not like a traditional hackathon. How is this different from a 'hackathon'?

= The projects are highly curated. Several industry leaders and researchers came together to brainstorm about the potential project well before the workshop. Many of these experts will travel to Nashik to participate in the workshop and the team also discussed projects will best potential for impact. Each student team is selected very carefully and assigned to experts and mentors from US and India. With this design thinking, we structure the 'problem definition' and 'solution exploration' process. We expects teams to be up and running with their strategy by the second day. With stakeholders in the room the progress is fast. Teams continue to work after the workshop and are provided sufficient resources. Many teams from earlier events have gone on to develop the prototypes that are in evaluation, have won awards, have been invited at TEDx and INKtalks events and have been taken up as thesis topics. See the Facebook page for updates. 


Who can participate?

= KumbhaThon is open for all students, professionals and also anyone who is innovative and willing to contribute for the betterment of the society. In this second phase, we especially invite entreprenuers and business leaders to take many of the ideas to commercial exploration.


I am an Industrial professional and I bring a different skill set to the table. Coding is not my forte. Will I be eligible?

= Yes, very much. We are expecting significant participation from Industry professionals. Many companies and organizatins are sending their employees. Some are participating as part of CSR activities, so please contact your organization HR as well. Some are embedding executives as part of an immersion program. Please contact John Werner at


What's the format for KumbhaThon?

= Industry Experts, Engineers, Designers, Corporations and Stakeholders unite for multiple days of nonstop ideating and prototyping on some of the biggest challenges for Kumbha 2015. Theme for this technical buildathon is Sinhasth Kumbha 2015. Your ideas must be solution to Kumbha relevant problems but they naturally map to Digital City or 'pop-up city' challenges applicable anywhere worldwide. Please see this blog for details We are expecting diverse disciplines such as Transportation, Health Issue, Civic Issues, Crime and Police issues, Hotel and Housing, Language and Translation, Crowd management, Security, Pollution, Positioning, Traffic & Parking etc.


How long I have to stay at site?

= KumbhaThon event is from 24th morning till 30th evening.


Are there any fees for Food or Stay?

= We will have details soon but the fees will be minimal for any individual non-industry participant. For industry participants please contact John Werner (


What should I bring?

= All participants are required to get their valid identities for admission (name must match registrations ), a laptop and a data card (WiFi is unreliable because we are dependent on our hosts who rarely support 200+ logins). If you want to hardware hack kindly get the required devices you are planning to work on. Oh yeah don't forget to get your toothbrush.


How to participate?

= Submit your Ideas on 'Discuss' button on main page and 'Apply' button to participate. Expert panel will scrutinize entries. Best 25 ideas will be selected for KumbhaThon4 in January.

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