LUCKNOW: Over one crore devotes took a holy dip in the Sangam, the confluence of holy Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati during second shahi snan on the occasion of ‘Paush Poornima’ at Kumbh Mela on Monday.
Mela officer Vijay Kiran Anand put the figure at 1.07 crore till the dusk with devotes still moving towards the ghats for bathing in the holy waters. All the 13 akhadas (orders), sadhus, seers, religious leaders and the public started taking the holy dip with the crack of dawn amid chants of shlokas, ‘Har Har Gange’ and rendition of bhajans.
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A holy dip at Sangam is believed to lead the devotees towards the atonement of their sins and it frees a person from the cycle of death and birth. This time, this largest congregation of humanity on earth is likely to witness nearly 15 crore people thronging it from across the globe in the during the next 50 days.
With the second shahi snan on Paush Poornima, a month-long kalpvaas also took off on Monday. Kalpvas is a rigorous practice which continues till Magh Poornima.
During the kalpvas, the devotes and practitioners of it, stay put on the banks of holy Ganga for a month in tents.
They take holy dip thrice a day and eat just once the food cooked by themselves only. They spend their day in prayers and doing ‘daan’ to attain salvation.
The banks of Sangam came alive on Monday as early as 4 am with temperatures as the devotes had started thronging the mela site since last evening for the shahi snan.
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. Besides, lakhs of other devotees also thronged the Sangam to take the holy dip on Paush Poornima.
As per the mela authorities, devotees from around 35 countries from across the globe took a dip at Sangam on Monday.
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 cynosure of the day was the procession of Naga sadhus, the martial order of seers who move naked with ash smeared all over.
The rest four shahi snans will take place on February 4 (Mauni Amavasya), February 10 (Basant Panchami), February 19 (Maghi Poornima), March 4 (Mahashivratri).