LUCKNOW: While around five lakh people took the holy dip in river Saryu to mark the occasion of Kartik Purnima in Ayodhya, devotees in hordes thronged the ghats of holy Ganga in Varanasi, and Sangam in Prayagraj along with many other rivers’ banks across the state on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Kashi was all decked up to welcome the Gods on mother earth to witness the culmination of the festival of lights in ‘Dev Deepawali’ when all 84 ghats along holy Ganga came alive with lakhs of sparkling diyas.
‘Dev Deepawali’ is celebrated a fortnight after Diwali to mark the end of festival of light on Kartik Purnima.
The visual delight, that ‘Dev Deepawali’ is known for, draws people in droves from across the globe to enjoy the splendour splattered on the waves of holy Ganga in a moonlit night of Kartik Purnima.
On the other, amid strict security measures, while an unprecedented congregation of over five lakh devotees had started swarming the temple town of Ayodhya since Monday evening for the holy dip in Saryu next morning, Ayodhya District Magistrate Ajun Kumar Jha put the official figure of bathers at three lakh.
People were seen jostling through the huge assemblage of devotes in Saryu Ghats in Ayodhya as it was the first religious congregation in the temple town since the verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Barbi Masjid case was delivered on Saturday.
Devotees in batches and groups began flocking to the ghats since early the hours amid chants of "Sita Ram" from blaring playing loudspeakers in the streets, while many devotees from adjoining districts of Ayodhya camped overnight on the ghats under the open sky near the river.
Local authorities had made all arrangements amid a high-security alert in the city. Not only the ground vigil but the adequate arrangements for an aerial vigil of the temple town were also made by the District Administration and state government.
A posse of heavy security contingent was deployed along the ghats, while regular check-posts were set up in the streets alongside patrolling parties on roads. “Besides, the state police, and central forces across the temple town, special deployment of Jal police and flood PAC companies was ensured on the ghats of River Saryu to ensure smooth flow of the devotees and enable them to take the holy dip without any discomfort,” said IG Range, Dr Sanjeev Gupta.
He said that the entire Mela area was divided into four zones and 80 sectors for the deployment of forces, especially the Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) sleuths to avert any untoward incident during Kartik Mela.
Devotees from various districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Barabanki, Sultanpur, Gonda and Bahraich, flock to Ayodhya every year on this festive season for a massive religious congregation on the banks of Sarayu.