Big Maha Kumbh bathing day draws thousandsJanuary 30th, 2010 - 11:10 am ICT by IANS
Haridwar, Jan 30 (IANS) The banks of the Ganga here reverberated with chants of “Har Har Gange”, “Jai Jai Gange” as a sea of pilgrims took a holy dip on Magh Purnima Saturday during the ongoing Maha Kumbh Mela.
Braving the cold and misty morning, men, women, children and priests in saffron gathered at the bathing ghats before dawn, waiting for the sun to rise for the auspicious bath during the Maha Kumbh, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world.
According to Hindu mythology, it is believed that on Magh Purnima, which is the full moon in the month of Magh (January-February), bathing in the Ganga purifies people of sin, speeding the way to the attainment of salvation.
“I took the holy dip around 4.30 a.m. and since then several devotees have come to me for holding prayers for different purposes,” priest Devarshi Sharma told IANS.
“While some asked me to conduct prayers for bringing in prosperity, others told me to conduct prayers for speedy recovery of their relatives and family members suffering from different disorders. Students too approached me to hold prayers for their future prospects,” he added.
Chanting verses from the Hindu scriptures, devotees sang holy hymns as they walked towards the bathing areas.
While the youth preferred to submerge themselves completely for the holy dip, women and elders preferred to sit on the staircases along the banks, where they were seen bathing by pouring water on themselves from traditional copper vessels, known as lotas.
“Due to age, I was not able to enter the river to take the dip. I preferred to sprinkle water on myself… Seeing youth enjoying in the river, I missed my young days when I too along with my friends used to tumble into the river water to enjoy the bath,” 70-year-old Patna resident Shereesh Prakash told IANS.
“I really feel I am very lucky that I managed to participate in the Maha Kumbh… It’s just due to god’s grace,” said Prakash, who came here with his younger son who lives in Mumbai.
After taking the dip, devotees offered coins and other religious materials to the Ganga and also donated money, clothes and food to the poor.
“About 9,000 security personnel have been deployed around the mela area spread across 130 sq km spanning Haridwar, Dehradun, Pauri and Tehri Garhwal districts,” Deputy Inspector General of Police (Mela) Alok Sharma told IANS.
“Besides the regular police force, security personnel include commandos, battalions of the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and Rapid Action Force (RAF), river police, bomb disposal squads (BDS) and intelligence sleuths,” he added.
“Security is paramount for us. Besides Har-ki-Pauri, one of the most visited and revered ghats of Ganga for bathing, we have deployed security personnel in several adjoining regions, including Chandipul, Shantikunj and VIP Ghat,” Anand Vardhan, officer in charge of the Mela, told IANS.
“While CCTV cameras have been installed at a number of places, security officials have also been provided binoculars to keep a close eye on all activities,” he added.
The Maha Kumbh comes around once every 12 years.
The religious gathering that began Jan 14 will end April 28 after the Baisakhi Shahi Snan - one of the most important bathing dates on April 14.
According to Hindu mythology, Haridwar is one of the four places where a drop of the nectar of immortality or “amrit” fell from the pitcher or “kumbh” when Garuda, the divine bird of Lord Vishnu, was spiriting it away from the demons after a pitched battle.
Since then, Haridwar, along with Allahabad, Nashik and Ujjain, has been celebrating the Kumbh Mela.
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- Sea of pilgrims at Maha Kumbh for Mahashivratri bath - Feb 12, 2010
- Haridwar overflows with pilgrims on last day of Maha Kumbh - Apr 28, 2010
- Ganga ghats resound with ecstasy on first Shahi Snan (Second Lead) - Feb 12, 2010
- Sea of humanity floods Haridwar for Maha Kumbh (Second Lead) - Jan 13, 2010
- Haridwar turns virtual fortress ahead of big day in Maha Kumbh - Feb 11, 2010
- Somersaults, dance and music during Mahashivratri bath (Lead) - Feb 12, 2010
- Sea of humanity in Haridwar for Maha Kumbh Jan 14 (Lead) - Jan 13, 2010
- Sadhus take out procession ahead of holy dip in Haridwar - Jan 31, 2010
- Devotees take holy dip in river Ganges on Magh Purnima - Jan 30, 2010
- Car mows down two Kumbh pilgrims - Apr 14, 2010
- First ritual bath at Mahakumbh Mela begins - Jan 14, 2010
- Pilgrims converge for Magh Mela in Allahabad - Dec 31, 2009
- Making money from money at Maha Kumbh - Feb 12, 2010
- Rainbow shades of faith on the banks of the Ganga - Jan 14, 2010
Tags: full moon, future prospects, ganga, ghats, har, hindu mythology, hindu scriptures, holy dip, jai jai, kumbh mela, magh, maha kumbh, misty morning, morning men, pouring water, purnima, religious gatherings, river water, speedy recovery, staircases