Crowd Management is always a challenging task when people gather in large numbers. Crowd disasters in India, including recurring incidents at religious venues, demands a crowd management system developed on the characteristics of the place, event, and participants. Assessment of carrying capacity is the prime process to design crowd management protocols and regulations. Carrying capacity assessment of religious gathering venues in India is often an overlooked process. The present study assessed the crowd carrying capacity of Sabarimala pilgrimage, Kerala, India. Physical carrying capacity assessment methods used for tourism venues have been applied and contextualised for crowd carrying capacity assessment. Characteristics of the venue, pilgrimage and pilgrims were studied to map the active crowd area and space utilisation zones. The physical carrying capacity was estimated based on the comfortable crowd density and threshold crowd density assessments. The study identified two factors influencing pilgrim movement within the venue viz. service level at the holy step and capacity of the darshan facility. Service level at the holy step is the prime factor that regulates the flow of the pilgrim within the venue including the pilgrim movement for deity darshan and hence the comfortable capacity of the holy step was distinguished as the effective carrying capacity of the venue. Physical carrying capacity at the comfortable crowd density has to be maintained throughout the event to avoid the triggering of crowd crushes. The crowd carrying capacity assessment (CCCA) method applied in this study is a simple process. Considering the crowd density and crowd regulation factors, the CCCA method can be applied to design crowd management protocols of other religious pilgrimage destinations in India.
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Illiyas, Faisel T.; Mani, Shibu K.; and Babu, Naveen
"Carrying Capacity Assessment for Religious Crowd Management - An Application to Sabarimala Mass Gathering Pilgrimage, India,"
International Journal of Religious Tourism and Pilgrimage:
8, Article 8.
Available at: https://arrow.tudublin.ie/ijrtp/vol8/iss8/8