GAYA: Hundreds of devotees in the historical city of Gaya are facing trouble in performing 'Pind Daan' ritual due to water scarcity in the region.
The river Sukhi Falgu in Gaya, the major source of water in the area for holy rituals, has almost dried up due to the summer heat and lack of rains.
Meanwhile, the locals are cashing in on the deficit by digging pits near the river to store its scant water and selling it to distressed devotees at high prices.
"We are facing many difficulties due to the scarcity of water in the region. Religious visitors are being forced to buy water from the locals at high prices because they have to use that water for their rituals," complained a priest, Anuj Kumar Mishra.
Devotees visit Gaya to perform Pind Daan for their ancestors, a ritual intended to free the Atma (spirit) of the dead from the cycle of birth and death, that is supposed to be performed on a specific day as per the Hindu almanac.
According to Hindu mythology, the holy water of the Sukhi Falgu river, when used for this ritual, allows the souls of the dead to rest in peace.
However, performing Pind Daan is proving difficult for devotees in Gaya due to the unavailability of water from the Falgu.
"The major problem is we are not getting water to perform the ritual. It is sad that we have to buy water even for this. The government should look into the matter and find a way to provide the necessary water to devotees," said a religious follower, Satybal Patiyal.
It is during the period of Pitra Paksha (a 16-day period dedicated to ancestors) or on the day of Amavasya (new moon) that most people perform the 'Pind Daan', with the belief that departed souls will find peace.
Gaya is among the most prominent places in India where devotees perform Pind Daan.