Bhopal, Apr 20: Madhya Pradesh's holy city of Ujjain has geared up to hold one of the biggest religious gatherings of Hindus - Simhastha-Kumbh Mela commencing Friday - where for the first time transgenders have announced to participate.
The state government has spent Rs 3,500 crore, some of which has come from the Centre for developing infrastructure, amenities and beautifying Ujjain - a city revered in Hindu scriptures for one of the biggest religious congregations.
"An amount of Rs 3,500 crore has been kept to hold the Simhastha mela in a grand way," state Transport Minister Bupendra Singh, who is overseeing the Mela preparations, told PTI today.
"Beside the akharas comprising sadhus from all over the country, nearly five crore devotees are expected to take part in the mela. Security for has been steeped up in every nook and corner of the district," Inspector General of Police Ujjain Madhu Kumar said.
Beside crores of devotees who will throng the banks of pious river Shipra in the month-long jamboree, the initial attraction may turn out to be 'peshwai' (procession) to enter the venue (a traditional practice) by transgenders.
The district administration has allotted a place to eunuchs for their akhara (seers belonging to different denominations).
Seer Rishi Ajay Das said his followers - transgenders - will put up akhara tomorrow and their 'peshwai' to enter the venue will start from Dusshera Maidan at 11 AM, (tomorrow).
The move, however, has been opposed by Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad.
"Eunuchs are planning to take out peshwai to enter the the Kumbh mela tomorrow. We can't let in any Tom, Dick and Harry to hold a Akhara," Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad head Acharya Narendra Giri today told PTI.
He said the parishad will not allow them to take out the procession, which will see 'peshwai' by the traditional 13 Akharas.