Rain wrecks havoc at Mahakumbh

Gusty wind brings down tents injuring hundreds of devotees

The sprawling Kumbhnagar, the makeshift township on the bank of Sangam, witnessed a near exodus of devotees and saints as heavy rains lashed the area in past two days.

The rains compelled even the die-hard Kalpavasis to leave, who had begun their month long kalpavas (cleansing of the soul) on January 25.

The rains, which started on Friday continued till Saturday evening and inundated the makeshift ashrams, tents and camps set up in the 58 square kilometer Kumbhnagar.
Hundreds of devotees got injured when their tents came crashing in heavy rains accompanied by gusty winds.

Lakhs of devotees spent the night under open sky after rainwater spilled into their camps.
“Food stock stocked in the camps of sadhus worth lakhs of rupees was destroyed. It’s a huge loss,” said a representative of Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopananda Sarswati. A portion of the seer’s pandal had crashed in rains on Saturday.

The kalpavasis complained that the administration didn’t intervene and they were left to fend for themselves. “There is no arrangement for us and we have no option but to leave. It is unfortunate that we could not complete our kalpavas,” said Durgesh from Ballia district.

Thousands of devotees including kalpavasis were seen leaving the Mela while carrying their belongings on their heads and wading around in the knee-deep water.
Officials said there was a huge rush of devotees at railway and bus stations. “The rains spoiled the show,” quipped a senior official.

Mela district magistrate Mani Shanker Mishra said the administration had pressed into service several pumps to drain the water out.

Power supply affected

The rains also disrupted the power supply leaving a large part of area powerless on Saturday. At many places, the roads caved in and devotees were seen trying to pull out their vehicles trapped in the mud.

The 55-day long Mahakumbh virtually got over on the 33rd day though two more important bathings are yet to happen.

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