Tragedy overshadows holy dip

Sunday's tragedy at the Allahabad railway station killing 36 devotees, cast its shadow on the last “shahi snan” (royal bath) on the occasion of “Basant Panchami” on Friday at Sangam with the saints avoiding pomp and show and the less than expected turn out of the devotees.

The Kumbh administration had expected a turnout of around 20 million but the actual number of devotees who took the holy dip at Sangam was said to be much less. Though officials gave differing estimates, a government spokesman put the number of devotees taking the holy dip on Friday at 70 lakh.

Another estimate put the number of devotees at 10 million. Though the muhurt(auspicious time) for the bathing ended at  5:20 pm on Friday, the devotees were still flocking the Sangam bank. Officials attributed the low turnout to the Sunday's stampede at Allahabad railway station and the rain that lashed the Sangam area earlier in the day.

The last of the three “shahi snans” concluded smoothly on Friday with lakhs of devotees braving the early morning chill and rains took holy dip in the Sangam amid tight security arrangements.

With Friday's bathing, the third and the last “shahi snan” also concluded. Around six in the morning, the “shahi snan” began with the saints and sadhus of the Mahanirvani Akhara being the first to take the holy dip followed by Anand and Panchayati Niranjani Akhara and others. Mela Commissioner Devesh Chaturvedi said that the bathing was going smoothly.

The Akharas had earlier decided to celebrate the occasion in a simple manner as a mark of respect for the departed souls.

Fire at Mahakumbh kills one, injures two

One person was killed and two others injured in a fire that broke out at the camp of an akhara in the sprawling Kumbhnagar, the makeshift town on the bank of the sangam, on Thursday, reports DHNS from Lucknow.

According to the officials, the fire broke out in a tent of Mahanirvani Akhara early on Friday morning. Two sustained injuries and were admitted to the hospital.

Million of devotees had gathered at the sangam for taking holy dip on the occasion of Basant Panchami. This is the fourth incident of fire at the ongoing Mahakumbh.

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