Maghi Purnima: Lakhs of devotees gather at Kumbh Mela on the auspicious occasion
Allahabad, Feb 19: The Kumbh Mela 2019, which is being held Prayagraj, witnessed a massive rush today as lakhs of devotees gathered at Sangam on the auspicious occasion of Maghi Purnima, marks the end of the month-long penance period of Kalpwasi pilgrims. Sangam is the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers.
Since January 14, millions of devotees have visited the Sangam to take holy dip Kumbh Mela. The Kumbh witnesses a total of three 'Shahi Snans', the first of which took place on Makar Sankranti on January 15, when the Mela started, the second was on Mauni Amavasya and the last one was on February 10, that was Basant Panchmi. The Kumbh Mela comes to a close on March 4.
Chants of 'Har Har Mahadev' and 'Ganga Maiya Ki Jai' rented the air as lakhs of devotees took dip on the auspicious occasion of Maghi Purnima on Tuesaday. The penultimate bathing day of the over 50-day-long Kumbh Mela, Maghi Purnima marks the end of the month-long penance period of Kalpwasi pilgrims.
Devotees take a holy dip at Sangam on the occasion of 'Maghi Purnima'
"Kalpwasis are usually regarded the most faithful pilgrims of Prayaga Kumbh Mela. They vow to live an austere and minimalist life on the banks of the Ganga for a month. After today's holy bath they all will head back to their respective homes," explained an old ascetic.
A nip in the air failed to deter the overwhelming crowd of devotees seen taking the holy dip as early as 4 am, despite vehicle restrictions in the vicinity of the makeshift township of Kumbh Nagri.
A sadhu offering prayers at Sangam on the auspicious 'Maghi Purnima'
"I have seen that the crowd picks up later in the day. So it makes sense to take the dip early in the morning," said Aditya Langar from Pathankot, who was busy drying up his clothes after taking the dip. Forty nine special trains and 2,500 buses were pressed into service by the administration to ferry devotees from far away places to the Kumbh on Maghi Purnima.
Though not a shahi snan, Maghi Purnima - like Paush Purnima and Maha Shivratri - is called a 'parv snan' and is part of the six important bathing days during the Kumbh. The belief is that a dip in the Ganga on the auspicious day washes away sins.
A sadhu chants hymns after taking a holy dip at Sangam
The Uttar Pradesh government on Monday declared the day - Maghi Purnima - a public holiday. According to the administration, over 1.50 crore devotees are expected to take the holy dip by the end of the day. As many as 40 bathing ghats have been prepared to manage the crowd.
Paramilitary forces stand guard at Sangam on the auspicious 'Maghi Purnima' day
Over 1.07 crore pilgrims had taken dip in Sangam area on Paush Purnima on January 21. The grand festival, which commenced on Makar Sakranti (January 15), will mark the last bathing day on March 4 on Maha Shivratri.
(Images courtesy - PTI)
OneIndia News with PTI inputs