Three crore take holy dip in Sangam
Over three crore devotees led by ascetics of Hindu sects on Sunday took a holy dip at Sangam on " Mauni Amavasya ", considered the most auspicious day of bathing during the 12-yearly Kumbh congregation here.
"As per our estimates, three crore people have taken a holy dip until the time of posting this news report. The influx of visitors has slowed down a bit since then but the turn-out has already exceeded our expectations," Kumbh Mela officer Mani Prasad Mishra informed.
The sprawling city of tents, spread across 6,000 acres, may have briefly become the most populous place in the world on account of this unusually high turnout.
A sea of devotees kept surging towards the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati throughout the day, while the 13 'akharas' took out their processions for the second "shahi snan" during the Mahakumbh.
Amid chants of "Har Har Gange", devotees including a fair sprinkling of foreigners, watched awestruck as "naga sadhus" with their matted hair, ash-smeared naked bodies adorned with garlands of marigold and "rudraksh" moved in processions with their "shrimahants" and "mahamandaleshwars" perched atop decorated chariots, horses and elephants.
Railways ran a number of special trains and bus operators, both private and government, plied hundreds of additional buses for the occasion.
Key personalities who visied the site included Sriprakash Jaiswal, Rajnath Singh, Subodh Kant Sahay, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, the Hinduja brothers, Anil Ambani with his mother Kokilaben, film producer Ekta Kapoor, actors Shilpa Shetty, Emraan Hashmi, Rajpal Yadav and Ashutosh Rana and stand-up comedian Raju Srivastava. A number of classical musicians like Pandit Jasraj, Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Malini Awasthi also enthralled people by their performances at the Kumbh area.
- Asian Tribune -