Allahabad, Jan 15: Nearly 80 lakh took bath at Kumbh Mela on Monday and not a single unpleasant incident was reported and this kind of miracle is possible because of faith. The Maha Kumbh takes place once in 12 years and this year it is considered to be very auspicious due to a planetary alignment that takes once every 147 years.
This faith transcends caste, creed, rich and poor, and add glamour to it to make it a typical Indian event not seen on this universe. The universal appeal is such that Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty and billionaire Srichand Hinduja joined the devout in performing the Maha Kumbh rituals at the Sangam (confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswathi).
Shilpa Shetty came with her parents and Hinduja was accompanied by family members. The organisers are also expecting visits by star couple Akshay Kumar and Twinkle Khanna and Hollywood actress Catherine Zeta Jones.
Later this month, the stars of Remo D'Souza's new movie ABCD (Any Body Can Dance) will descend on the banks of Ganga to promote the film. ABCD is India's first dance 3D film and stars south star Prabhudheva, choreographer Ganesh Acharya and actor Kay Kay Menon in the main roles along with contestants from the dance reality show Dance India Dance (Salman Yusuff Khan, Dharmesh Yelande, Raju Katuwal and Noorin Sha).
On Monday, the first of the Shahi Snans (royal baths) began at 5.15 am and leading the pack were the naked Naga sadhus, armed with maces, axes and swords. Heavy presence of paramilitary forces ensured that the inter-Akhara rivalries over the sequence of bathing did not result in violence, as in the past.
Meanwhile, the four Shankaracharyas, the high seers of the order of Adi Shankaracharya, have decided to boycott the Mela over an unresolved land dispute with the administration. Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Maharaj said that people were not coming to the Kumbh due to the pollution in the rivers and now the administration has decided against giving them a common place. He said that when they have not got the land, then there is no point in attending the Maha Kumbh.
However, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav said that officers are in touch with the Shankaracharyas and have requested them to come back for the Kumbh.