Seers keep last Shahi Snan symbolic affair

Devotees gather for the last Shahi Snan of Kumbh 2021 on the day of Purnima, or full moon, in Haridwar.
Devotees gather for the last Shahi Snan of Kumbh 2021 on the day of Purnima, or full moon, in Haridwar.

Kumbh Mela

DEHRADUN/RISHIKESH, Apr 27: The last ‘shahi snan’ at the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar on Tuesday was a subdued affair with seers keeping the ritual symbolic in view of a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases.
Till 10:45 am, around 670 seers took the royal bath and some more are expected to take it in the day at Har ki Pairi on the banks of the Ganga, officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 17 had appealed to sadhus to observe the remaining duration of the Kumbh only in a “symbolic” manner. Following this different ‘akhadas’ (sects) had agreed to keep their participation symbolic.
Crowds at the ghats of the Ganga started thinning down drastically since last week after the key ‘akhadas’ of seers began pulling out of the Maha Kumbh, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, citing the spike in coronavirus case numbers.
Many spots wore a deserted look on Tuesday at the Kumbh which will formally close only on April 30.
With 3,23,144 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India’s total tally of COVID-19 cases has climbed to 1,76,36,307, while the national recovery rate has further dropped to 82.54 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.
Uttarakhand reported 5,058 COVID-19 cases on Monday with Dehradun registering 2,034 cases and Haridwar 1,002 cases.
By 10.45 am, 600 seers of the Joona, Agni, Avahan and Kinnar ‘akhadas’ had taken a dip in the river followed by 70 seers of the Niranjani and Anand ‘akhadas’ on Chaitra Purnima, Zonal Officer (Intelligence) of Haridwar Sunita Verma said.
Seven more akhadas will converge at ‘Har ki Pairi’ during the day for a symbolic ‘snan’, the officer said.
Kumbh Mela officer Deepak Rawat, Inspector General (Kumbh Mela) Sanjay Gunjyal and Senior Superintendent of Police, Kumbh Mela, Janmejay Khanduri reviewed the arrangements at Har ki Pairi before commencement of the bath on Tuesday. Talking to reporters, Rawat thanked the seers for scaling down the shahi snan in response to the prime minister’s appeal. (PTI)