Sangam gears up for 3 cr devotees

The roads leading to Sangam here have begun disappearing fast, with a sea of humanity virtually carpeting every inch of them. The main shahi snan (royal bathing) day of Mauni Amavasya, which is considered the most auspicious, is on Sunday and people from all corners of the world have begun to gather at Kumbh-2013 in large numbers.

The administration said around 1 crore devotees had already reached the Mela area. More than 3 crore are expected to take a dip at Sangam on Sunday. A total of 22 ghats, with overall length of more than 16,000 feet, have been put in place.

Having made arrangements for parking, traffic and security, the administration is hoping the festival will pass off peacefully. District schools have been closed for the entire week, with the third shahi snan of Basant Panchami falling on February 15.

Mauni Amavasya is considered the most auspicious day with the sun moving into the Aquarius zodiac. During Mauni (which means silence) Amavasya, it is said that the maximum benefit accrues to those who observe silence till they have taken bath and then make some offerings to the priests.

Around 30,000 police personnel, including those from the Central Para-Military Forces, have been deployed for maintaining security. More than 200 commandos of the ATS, STF, CRPF and other units are on 24-hour alert. At least six bomb disposal squads and 19 sniffer dogs, besides the anti-sabotage teams are in place to detect and diffusive explosives.

With traffic management being a huge challenge, the administration has created 88 parking lots within Allahabad, besides 11 others on the periphery of the Mela area. At least 11 different traffic diversion plans have been prepared, to be implemented as per requirements.

The media too has been issued advisory and a raised platform has been propped at the main ghat for them to allow coverage of the shahi snan.

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