Kumbh: 90 lakh take dip on Maghi Purnima

Devotees

The 43rd day of Kumbh-2013 saw around 90 lakh people taking the holy dip on Maghi Purnima here on Monday. With the month of kalpvas getting over and the akharas having already left, the Mela is likely to wind up fast now, even though at least 13 more days remain for the official closing of the Mela on Mahashivratri.

Commissioner (Allahabad Division), Devesh Chaturvedi, told mediapersons Monday evening that around 89 lakh people had taken the holy dip by 5 pm on the occasion of Maghi Purnima at Sangam and 21 other ghats. The estimated number was likely to go up as devotees continued to reach Sangam, he said. Heavy security had been put in place to prevent any untoward incident in the wake of the Hyderabad serial blasts of February 21.

An estimated five lakh kalpvasis had an activity-filled day as they began the process of leaving the Mela area, which had been their Spartan abode for one month. Apart from the cold conditions, they had braved two days of rain since Basant Panchami.

"These things happen. I had not come here to enjoy the luxuries of life. I had come to pray and lead a spiritual life. I would keep coming back till it is possible. Let us see how long Ganga Maiyya wants me to come here," said Shiv Shankar, a kalpvasi from Bhadohi, who has been coming to the banks of Sangam every year for over 15 years.

Like Shiv Shankar, the kalpvasis woke up early, took the holy dip and returned to their tents for havan.

This was followed by ann-daan (donating food) to their teerth purohit (or presiding priests). Traditionally, the priests gather the amount of foodgrain, donated symbolically by a kalpvasi during ann-daan, from the kalpvasis' homes over the next few months.

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