Magh Mela 2024: On Paush Purnima, over 9 lakh take dip at Sangam; Kalpwas begins - Hindustan Times
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Magh Mela 2024: On Paush Purnima, over 9 lakh take dip at Sangam; Kalpwas begins

By, Prayagraj
Jan 25, 2024 07:53 PM IST

By around 2 pm, 6.60 lakh devotees had taken the holy dip and by 4 pm, the figures reached 7.75 lakh, informed officials.

With the second major bathing festival of Paush Purnima on Thursday, the month-long Kalpwas started on the sandy banks of Sangam in the tent city of Magh Mela 2024. Thousands of pilgrims arrived for their camping, which ends on February 24, during the Maghi Purnima festival.

Thousands of pilgrims taking a dip at Sangam in the Magh Mela area of Prayagraj on Paush Purnima, on Thursday morning. (Anil Kumar Maurya/HT Photo)
Thousands of pilgrims taking a dip at Sangam in the Magh Mela area of Prayagraj on Paush Purnima, on Thursday morning. (Anil Kumar Maurya/HT Photo)

The Magh Mela is an annual religious event unique to Prayagraj.

“Despite the morning chill and the heavy fog till 10 am, around 5.50 lakh devotees had taken holy dip in Sangam and the figure reached 5.80 lakh by noon. The entire bathing festival passed off peacefully,” said Mela Adhikari Dayanand Prasad.

Along with a large number of seers and thousands of Kalpwasis, devotees too in large numbers took the holy dip on the occasion of Paush Purnima. Although the number of devotees arriving in the mela area was thin during the wee hours of Thursday, predominantly because of the chilly conditions as the city recorded a minimum temperature of 6 degrees Celsius, 3 degrees below normal, as sunshine started to dominate the blue sky increasing temperature, a heavy influx of devotees was witnessed. By around 2 pm, 6.60 lakh devotees had taken the holy dip. It reached 7.75 lakh by 4 pm and was 9.80 lakh by 7 pm, he informed.

Mela Adhikari said that in light of the expected heavy rush of pilgrims and saints, the count of bathing ghats was increased from 8 to 12 amounting to the total length of the ghats rising from earlier 3300 feet to 6200 feet.

As per officials, a total of 4km long deep-water barricading has been set up for the safety of the pilgrims, while 14 watch towers have also been set up to keep a watch on the area. A total of 200 changing rooms for women pilgrims are also set up.

As for security personnel, five additional SPs, 12 circle officers, 25 inspectors besides 2500 police personnel, 1000 home guards, eight companies of PAC, two companies of RAF and two teams of ATS or anti-terror squad remained deployed in the area.

The arrival of Kalpavasis in the mela area continued on Tuesday and even Wednesday. Almost all the Kalpwasis are associated with some or the other seer and stay in tents arranged in the camp of their gurus; even the mela administration has made elaborate arrangements to make their camping possible. Although some of the seers and Kalpwasis complained about incomplete work in providing facilities like tap water, electricity, toilets and tin sheds, for a chunk of Kalpwasis, it is the devotion and religious belief that overshadowed extreme cold conditions or amenities provided by the administration. Railways and UPSRTC operated special buses to deal with the rush of pilgrims.

With the bating ritual, from Thursday onwards, thousands of Kalpvasi from different parts of the state and also from other states, started their month long religious practice of restrained and disciplined life with the desire to be freed from the shackles of life and death, as it is believed that by practising Kalpavas, the door of heaven opens for the devotees after their demise. Along with spiritual, scientific outlook is also important in Kalpavas.

“According to religious beliefs, one receives virtuous results in the month of Magh on the bank of Sangam at Tirtharaj Prayag. Taking a dip in the holy waters during Kalpavas bears the same fruit as donating crores of cows daily. Therefore, in the month of Paush Purnima, a resolution is taken for bathing and practicing Kalpavas”, shared noted astrologer Hemant Bhaduri.

Further, inspired by a feeling of detachment with hard austerity, Kalpwasi attains self-purification, he added.

Pt Diwakar Tripathi Purvanchali, director of Utthan Jyotish Sansthan, Prayagraj said that there are 21 rules of Kalpavas as per scriptures. These include not telling lies, staying free from household worries, bathing in the Ganga thrice a day, planting a Tulsi plant in the camp, following celibacy, taking food prepared by oneself or wife, attending sermons, sleeping on the ground. Not wearing gold, not consuming sweets or fruits, freedom from worldly worries, restraint on the senses, pind daan of ancestors, following non-violence, renunciation of luxury are some of the rules that are followed by Kalpwasi.

“The Kalpwas of Magh Mela 2024 would end on February 24, on the occasion of Maghi Purnima”, he said.

The noted astrologer also informed about another interesting aspect pertaining to Kalpwas. “The month-long Kalpwas for Dandi Sanyasi and those coming from Mithila region of the country starts from Makar Sankranti itself whereas for others, it began from Thursday”.

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