LUCKNOW: Over five crore devotees took the holy dip at banks of Sangam, the confluence of holy Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, seeking spiritual liberation and taking one more step towards
perceived salvation on the occasion of third Shahi Snan (royal bathing) on Mauni Amavasya at Kumbh in Prayagraj on Monday A sea of devotees emerged on the banks of Sangam resplendent with divine silence
much in league with the occasion on the new moon day with the dawn cracking and ghats coming alive as early as 3 am.
As per the mela authorities, over five crore devotees became part of shahi snan and the spree was still on till late Monday evening. Over a crore people from across the globe transcending the barriers of social status and united by divinity, had taken the holy dip in the Ganga till 11 on Monday morning amidst the showering of rose petals and heavy deployment of security forces including RPF, UP police, PAC at every shed.
UP Deputy CM Keshav Prasad Maurya and state law minister Brijesh Pathak led the
devotees to the holy dip at 5 in the morning. Rallies of people were seen moving on foot as entry of vehicles was restricted in the vicinity of Kumbh Nagari, the sprawling 32,000-hectare township that has come up on the banks of the three rivers.
Basically, 'Mauni Amavasya' is the new moon day of the Magha month, which falls in late January or early February. It assumes greater significance if it falls on a Monday during the Kumbh, which
happened to be the case this time.
As per the common belief in Sanatan dharma, on this day, first sage Rishabh Dev broke his long vow of silence and bathed in the holy waters. This makes devotees take up a vow of silence on this day. The day started with processions of 13 akharas (orders) -- seven Shaiv, three Vishnava, two udasin and one Sikh -- moving, marching, dancing and singing one by one towards the bathing ghats for the shahi snan amid the chanting of hymns and shlokas.
The order of bathing for different akharas is pre-determined. It commenced with Mahanrivani and Atal Akhara, Niranjani with Ananada Akahra and Juna with Avahana and Agni akharas. They are followed by Nirvani, Digmabar, Nirmohi, baga Udasin, naya Udasin and Sikh akhara. The grand religious event, which started on January 15 with Makar Sakranti, is yet to witness three more shahi snanas on February 10 (Basant Panchami), February 19 (Maghi Poornima), March 4 (Mahashivratri).