Saints face jumbo problem at Kumbh


These saints and sages belonging to as many as 13 “Akharas” are not getting the elephants, which they require for the “mahamandalshwaras” and old sadhus who are taken for “shahi snan” (royal bath or ceremonial bath).

According to the age old traditions, the mahamandelshwaras and other prominent old saints and sadhus ride their way to the bathing ghats on elephants.
Elephants are also required when a saint wishes to adopt the title of mahamandaleshwara.

“Those aspiring to become mahamandaleswara donate the ‘haudas’ (box like pots kept on the back of the elephants) made of gold and silver to the various akharas to mark the occasion,” said All India Akhara Parishad president and Ayodhya based saint Mahant Gyan Das.

Besides, the newly anointed mahamandaleswaras, elephants are also required for carrying “acharyas” and “shankaracharyas,” Mahant Gyan Das told Deccan Herald.
The Parishad officials said that the akharas needed at least 500 elephants and the same number of chariots on the occasion of the shahi snans.

They said that in case they do not get elephants, they will opt for chariots.
“If required, big vehicles could also be decorated and used as chariots,” they added.
According to an estimate there are about 300 mahamandaleshwaras currently besides other senior and old saints associated with various akharas in the country.
The first royal bath will take place on the day of “Mahashivratri” on February 12 next followed by another on “Somvati Amawasya” on March 15.

The last royal bath will take place on April 14 next. The days of the royal baths witness huge rush of pilgrims on the banks of the river as they are considered auspicious.

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