Devout flock to religious places for dip during solar eclipse
New Delhi, Mar 29 (UNI) Thousands of devout throughout North India took a holy dip during the solar eclipse today, while amateur astronomers flocked to various science centres where arrangements for viewing the celestial phenomenon had been made.
The total solar eclipse, which began at a point in North East Brazil at 1307 hrs IST and ended at a point near the Russia-Mongolia border, was partially visible in North, Western and North East India in its later part from 1620 hrs till sunset.
It was fully visible in Brazil, many parts of Africa including Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, Niger, Libya, Egypt, South East Europe (Greece and Turkey), Georgia, Russia and Kazakhstan.
Many organisations, including the Nehru Planetarium here, had made arrangements for people to enjoy the view of the rare astronomical happening.
In the holy town of Kurukshetra, about 10 lakh pilgrims had a holy dip in the Brahma Sarovar and Sannihit Sarovar, a pious act believed to assure salvation of the soul. The holy scriptures say Lord Krishna himself came to Kurukshetra for a holy dip on the occasion of a Solar Eclipse.
For the last two days, a large number of devotees from all over the country had been converging to have a bath in the various sacred reservoirs of the town. The Pehowa Mela was also held during the same period, causing an increased influx of devotees.
The district administration and the police had made elaborate security arrangements throughout the Mela area. The state government had also insured every visitor coming to the mela for Rs one lakh each.
As soon as the eclipse commenced in Kurukshetra at 1630 hours, the pilgrims took bath in the holy Sarovars and offered water to the Sun God and offerings to the priests present. Saints and sages say that the Sun God infuses spiritual energy and vitality among the devotees on this auspicious occasion.
In neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, thousands of the devotees took a holy dip in the sacred waters of Sangam -- the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers -- in Allahabad during solar eclipse this afternoon.
Similarly, the banks of Ganges remained crowded in Varanasi, Kanpur and other religious places of UP as devotees gathered for bathing, which started early morning and continued till evening.
Reports from other places said special prayers were offered at temples before and during the eclipse.
Other places where the eclipse was visible included Haridwar, Patna, Raipur, Mount Abu, Surat and Amritsar.
A lunar eclipse also occurred this month, coinciding with the Holi festival. It is one of the rare occasions when both lunar and solar eclipse occurred in the same month.
UNI TEAM VD HT1934