Amid the chants of Har Har Mahadev and Ganga Maiya Ki Jai, sadhus of various akharas on Monday took a holy dip in River Ganga at Har Ki Pauri in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar, on the occasion of the second Shahi Snan during Kumbh.
The first Shahi Snan was held on March 11 on the occasion of Mahashivratri, while the second is being held today. The third Shahi Snan will be attended by the 13 akharas on April 14.
Kumbh is held periodically at four different locations in India, viz Nashik, Haridwar, Prayagraj, and Ujjain, every four years.
In normal circumstances, Kumbh continues for nearly four months, but this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the duration of the congregation has been curtailed to one month.
Amid growing COVID-19 cases, Kumbh Inspector General (IG) Sanjay Gunjyal had earlier admitted that it is difficult to ensure social distancing norms during the second Shahi Snan, where massive crowds have gathered to take a holy dip in River Ganga at Har Ki Pauri in Haridwar.
“We are continuously appealing to people to follow COVID-19 appropriate behavior. But due to the huge crowd, it is practically not possible to issue challans today. It is very difficult to ensure social distancing at ghats,” Gunjyal said.
“A stampede-like situation may arise if we would try to enforce social distancing at ghats, so we are unable to enforce social distancing here,” he said.
Gunjyal added, “General public will be allowed here till 7 am. After that, this area will be reserved for akharas”.
Meanwhile, Nepal’s erstwhile King Gyanendra Veer Vikram Singh on Sunday arrived in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar to participate in the ongoing Kumbh festivities in the holy city.
Uttarakhand reported 1,333 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, taking the total number of the cases to 1,08,812. The active cases in the state now stand at 7,323.