Mela winding up
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Dusty roads, empty spaces, camps being dismantled and empty tents — the Kumbh Mela area is gradually but surely showing signs of folding up even though two important bathing days remain.
The long duration of the Mela, coupled with acute problems after two days of heavy downpour since Basant Panchami on February 15, apparently hastened the process, which should have ideally begun after the Maghi Purnima snan on February 25.
Usually, akharas leave the mela area after Basant Panchami, which is the third shahi snan. The other sadhus begin leaving their camps after completion of the Maghi Purnima snan. Kalpvasis too remain till Maghi Purnima. The mela is officially over with Mahashivratri, the last main bathing day, which is on March 10.
However, many, including some kalpvasis, left following the heavy rain, which led to a chaos in the Mela area, and decided to leave early.
Roads, which till the other day were well sprinkled, are now dusty. Vehicles passing by make it difficult for the pedestrians to walk. "The sprinklers came yesterday after a gap of three days. Now again the dust is flying all around," said Uday Raj Singh, who sells tea and other eatables. He added that with people leaving the Mela, his daily sale has come down from Rs 1,200 to Rs 500.
The state of the roads is more or less the same in Sectors 6, 7, 8 and 10 of the Mela area. At many places, the chequered plates are still lying buried, even though the administration had been given only four days' time to get the roads in proper shape following the rains on February 15. Nevertheless, many PWD teams could be seen working to restore the plates.
At Sector 8, Sangam Lower Road, Dr Kalyani Chaitanya Brahmchari said, "We are here till February 25. But many others near our camp have left. They did not seem to be in a mood to put things back in order after the heavy rains. God gave one test and they failed," she said.