Kumbh begins on peaceful note, lakhs throng Sangam
- Sreesanth, Jiju Janardhan lived in independently booked rooms: Cops
- India to convey concerns over Ladakh incursion to Chinese Premier
- IPL 2013 LIVE SCORE: Maxwell falls early in stiff run-chase
- Narendra Modi: India losing sheen as agricultural nation
- Rajapaksa slams Tamil diaspora for lack of support in reconciliation process
The next shahi snan would be on February 10, on Mauni Amavasya, which is traditionally always the biggest of the snans.
The official estimates said that 82 lakh people had taken bath at Sangam, and also the 20 other ghats, by 4 pm. The number was likely to go up and could cross the one-crore mark, the officials claimed. As is the tradition, the Akharas, in all their royal magnificence, took the first shahi snan beginning as early as 5.15 am. The police and the administration had put in place massive paraphernalia to ensure the day went incident-free.
For the common man, the pull of the divine and the sacred alone seemed to be fuelling their spirits. Coming from nearby villages and neighbouring districts like Pratapgarh, Fatehpur, Chitrakoot, and even Banda, Jhansi and Hardoi, they reached Allahabad by train, four-wheelers, tractors and also two-wheelers. They also came from Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh to name only a few. Quite a few of them were also from Nepal, besides, of course, those from the West.
Mahesh Pratap Singh Parmar came from Panna, Madhya Pradesh, along with six of his family members. He is in the diamond business there. "We came in a four-wheeler and parked our vehicle somewhere in Naini. From there, we have just walked and walked. It must have been around 10 km. In Panna, I am not used to even carry my office bag," he said smiling, happy that he has met "Ganga Maiyya" (Mother Ganga). "What I liked this time was that the police were very well behaved," said the veteran of two Kumbh and two ardh-Kumbh melas.
Kumud Sharma, Sudha Devi, Anita and Surya Kumar Sharma had come from Purnea. While Surya Kumar was over 70, the others were in mid-60s. Having landed at Allahabad junction this morning, they walked with their bedding, at least four bags and some packed food to Sangam. "We lost two of our bags during the journey. We don't even have clothes to change," said Kumud.
Sangam Lal Chaurasia of Chhatadih in Allahabad had managed to get a rickshaw right up to the Sangam ghat, requesting senior officials to let him go. He was carrying his grandmother, aged over 100, and grand-mother-in-law aged around 80. Naseem, the rickshaw puller, was wary of entering into Sangam area and had finally settled for Rs 80 one way. "Itna hee nahin, hum isko aur bhi denge. Yeh hamare liye shravan kumar hai (This is not all. We will give him more. He is like Shravan Kumar to me)," said Sangam Lal, a paan seller, referring to the mythological son, who carried his blind parents for pilgrimage.
Superintendent of Police (Jal police and Snan Ghat) Shiv Hari said: "These two women cannot walk. So they were allowed." He added that the fact that Sangam ghat extended right up to Qila Ghat had made their task easy in so far as managing the crowd was concerned. "Even the enclosures for shahi snan are so wide that we are allowing common people to use it in the intervals between two processions," he said.
Earlier in the day, the akharas' processions, with Naga Sadhus in the forefront and many brandishing swords, spears and machetes, bore the royal touch to which they are entitled to particularly in the Kumbh at Allahabad, as they are treated like kings.
True to its reputation, the biggest contingent of the Naga Sadhus was that of Juna Akhara, which is the largest among the 13 akharas. Mahanirvani and Atal had taken the lead, taking the first bath around 5.15 am.
- Destitute, orphan students outclass rest in Andhra Class 10 exams
- To re-energise ties, PM wants to visit US, waits for confirmation
- NIA court says no terror link, frees 'Hizbul militant' Liyaqat on bail
- CBI arrests its coal allotments investigator on bribery charge
- ‘Cricketer-bookie Amit may have used Jiju to reach Sree’
- BCCI chief N Srinivasan says police must prove spot-fixing allegations