Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh), January 14
Faith triumphed over fear and lakhs of devotees, cautioning the winds, took a holy dip at the Sangam on Friday to mark the auspicious occasion of ‘Makar Sankranti’.
Devotees left masks and social distancing was nowhere to be seen as people walked shoulder to shoulder with each other to take the holy dip and offer prayers.
Magh Mela, the 47-day annual religious fair officially began on Friday morning – the first official bathing festival of Makar Sankranti – on the banks of the Sangam.
On the eve of Makar Sankranti, a large number of devotees, sages and saints started arriving on this occasion from Thursday and the fear of the third corona wave was nowhere to be seen.
The authorities were having a tough time in controlling the crowd and ensuring the implementation of the COVID protocol.
Fair officer Sheshmani Pandey said that continuous efforts are being made to stop the crowd on the rivers or banks.
“This time ten main bathing ghats have been built for the pilgrims. These will be spread from Nagavasuki to Qila Ghat near the Sangam to save the pilgrims from overcrowding at one place,” he said. Officials expect around five lakh pilgrims to take a holy dip on Friday.
There are 13 police stations and 38 police outposts in different sectors of the Mela area. Apart from these, there are 13 fire stations and the entire Mela area is being monitored by 13 watch towers. CCTV cameras have been installed in these towers.
The entry of heavy vehicles has been banned from 14-15 January. Apart from this, the entry of two and four wheelers will also be prohibited inside the Mela area on major bathing days.
However, the increased water level in river Ganga is a matter of concern for the authorities. The water level, which used to be around 74-75 meters earlier, is around 77 meters this year due to which strong currents are eroding its banks at some places, even as officials are trying their best to check it. are doing.