With the Shahi Snan of akharas on the occasion of Makarsankranti, the 55-day long Prayagraj Kumbh Mela commenced today at the sangam (confluence) of the Ganges, Yamuna and mystical river, Saraswati at Praygaraj, Uttar Pradesh.
In the morning today, participating in the Kumbh Mela, sadhus of 13 akharas were the first to take the holy dip in the confluence, known as ‘Shahi Snan’. The other five Shahi Snan will be held on January 21 (Paush Purnima), February 04 (Mauni Amavasya), February 10 – Vasant Panchami, February 19 (Maghi Purnima) and the mela will end on March 04 with Mahashivratri Shahi Snan.
Approximately 130 million pilgrims are expected to make their visit at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj, the largest human congregation in the planet. There is a belief that taking a dip in the holy waters at the sangam will pave the way for their salvation and would rid them of their sins.
This time, with the mantra of peace, the Yogi Adityanath led Uttar Pradesh government has given slogan ‘Chalo Kumbh Chalen’. This might have been the reason behind visiting the thousands of pilgrims at the Kumbh in a single day by walking miles to take the holy dip in the Sangam.
The streets of the city have become a canvas for the artists as many mural paintings with various themes have coloured them in colours of Kumbh Mela. An area of 20 lakh square fit has been designated for these mural paintings under an initiative, ‘Paint my city’ by the Kumbh Mela Authority.
According to the Religious Affairs Minister of Uttar Pradeh, Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary, it is perhaps for the first time since Independence that proper arrangements of milk, ghee, food, blankets and firewood have been made for the seers, ashrams and akharas.