LUCKNOW: If you thought that Magh Mela and Kalpwas, the month-long stay in tents with basic amenities, were only for the elderly and rural folks, do pay a visit to Sangam — the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. This time, the tents are full of educated, urban youths out for a spiritual quest.
Kalpvasis, stay put on the banks of the Ganga and participate in rituals, charity and service and participate in spiritual and religious discourses.
“I want to learn more about my religion and this is the best place as there are so many spiritual gurus here to guide me,” said Tejeshwar, an aspiring doctor from Pratapgarh.
Dr Prashant Kumar, a first-time visitor, finds the mela a place for cultural interface and free exchange of ideas. “It is such a rare occasion. I’ll be here for 43 days to participate in all the holy dips and soak in the aura of this place,” he said.
Similarly, Tanmay, who is pursuing BTech, too, wants to learn how the Kalpwasis get the inner strength to brave the biting cold on the banks of Triveni to complete the penance. “The Kalpwasis I interacted with were determined to complete their month-long Kalpwas, irrespective of the hostile weather,” he said.
Another unique feature of the mela this time is that 40 policemen, including 10 policewomen, have honed their communication skills by learning different dialects like Bhojpuri, Khari Boli, Bundeli, Awadhi, Haryanvi and other languages. The mela draws devotees of all castes, creed and age from across India and neighbouring countries, so the cops often face issues while communicating with them.
According to Mela Nodal officer Neeraj Pandey, the trained group of police personnel would be deployed across all five sectors of the mela premises. “They will roam around in mufti and interact with Kalpwasis and other pilgrims to take their feedback and address their grievances. They will also give feedback to the administration,” said Pandey.
‘Magh’ happens to be the 11th month of Hindu calendar during which this fete is organised annually. There are six holy dips during the 43-day-long religious extravaganza.