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1:06 am - Thursday April 24, 2014

Maha Kumbh commences today, 11 mln devotees expected

Agencies, Kumbh Nagar
Maha KumbhaPresenting a vibrating paradigm of Hinduism at its best, the Maha Kumbh, the largest religious fair of the world, commences here tomorrow on the banks of Sangam, the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and invisible Saraswati rivers.

With some nitty-gritty still left, the preparations for smooth conduct of the first bathing of 55-day-long 2013 Maha Kumbh have been completed when around 11 million people expected to take a holy dip in Sangam, during Makar Sankranti tomorrow. The Makar Sankranti day will also mark the first ‘Shahi Snan (Royal Bathing)’ of the saints drawn from 13 Hindu Akharas.

Of the six main bathing festivals namely Makar Sankranti (January 14), Pauash Purnima (January 27), Mauni Amavasya (February 10), Basant Panchami (February 15), Maghi Purinma (February 25) and Maha Shivratri (March 10), three Makar Sankranti, Mauni Amavasya and Basant Panchami will be ‘Shahi Snan’.

Devotees from all over the country and abroad as well will visit the sprawling 54 sq km mela giving it as a look of ‘mini bharat’. The saints drawn from various parts of the country have started coming in lakhs before the religious mega affair gets underway.

“We are giving final touches to the traffic and crowd control plans as we are expecting around 11 million people to attend the bathing tomorrow which will spread over next day also,” Divisional Commissioner of Allahabad Devesh Chaturvedi told UNI here today.
He said all arrangements for smooth conduct of the first Shahi bathing is under completion and a proper coordination had been ensured with the railways, Road transport and other organisations for ferrying the pilgrims.

It would be a unique opportunity for pilgrims to grace the first Shahi Snan (Royal Bathing) during the 2013 Maha Kumbh at Sangam here on the occasion of Makar Sankranti tomorrow. With no such dispute between 13 Akharas, who will participate in the Shahi Snan, sadhus and saints would commence the royal bathing from 0500 hrs tomorrow and it will continue till afternoon.

Mela authorities here today said every akhara has been given around 40 minutes time to complete their Shahi Snan but it can also be relaxed if required. Common people are not likely to get the glimpse of the Shahi Snan as security forces would ban the entry of people near the Sangam during the royal bathing. But pilgrims could watch the Akharas going from the bathing from the Akharas Marg through a dedicated route.

The Shahi Snan has a very distinctive and attractive feature in the Kumbh and can be called a ceremonial bathing of Nagas who are traditionally given priority in the bathing for being the initiator of this festival.

Security alert before first bathing

Agencies, Kumbh Nagar: Security forces have gone on a high alert on the eve of the first Shahi Snan(royal bathing) tomorrow on the occasion of Makarsankranti following reports of terrorist threat.

Though all the preparation for the first bathing of the 2013 Kumbh Mela has been completed, the mela authorities here claimed that around 2 million people have already reached Kumbh Nagar while several millions are on their way. Authorities are expecting around 11 million people to reach Sangam for bathing on January 14-15.

Additional Director General of POlice ( Law and Order, ATS) Arun Kumar told mediapersons here today that commandos of the Anti-Terrorist Squad(ATS) of UP police besides commandos of other Central forces including ITBP, BSF and CRP have also been deployed in the mela area.

‘Anti-sabotage and anti-mines teams are already at work in the Sangam area to clean the area,’ Mr Kumar said. More than 25,000 police personnel have been deployed in the mela area while 72 companies of Central forces have also been kept in reserve. Earlier the Intelligence Burau(IB) had issued an advisory of the possibility of a terrorist threat during the KUmbh Mela.

District Magistrate Mela Mani Prasad Mishra said all arrangements have been completed for tomorrow’s bathing. ‘Discussions have been completed with the Akharas for Shahi bathing and it will start at 0515 hrs and will end at 1700 hrs tomorrow,’ he said.

 Railways to run 750 additional trains

New Delhi: Going on an over-drive three days after hiking train fares, the government today announced a slew of measures, including running of 750 additional trains and extra coaches, during the 56-day Kumbh Mela beginning tomorrow.

Adequate security measures are being taken. About 14 companies of additional Railway Protection Force (RPF) have been requisitioned from other Railways while more CCTV monitoring systems with cameras have been installed at Allahabad. Naini, Sangam and Vindhyachal.

Fifteen additional dog squads are being deployed, while RPF/RPSF staff are being trained to avoid stampede. Special focus has been given to Allahabad which will be the main centre for pilgrimage.

The measures and facilities undertaken by the Railway administration include additional ticketing, booking, enquiry counters, special trains, extra coaches in popular trains, additional deployment of security, CCTV monitoring, medical facilities and deployment of additional staff.

The measures further include effective mechanism for crowd management and officers’ committees for monitoring and supervision, an official spokesman said here today.

Posted in: Nation

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