Even as India was battling with the second wave of COVID-19, at least 91 lakh pilgrims visited Haridwar for Mahakumbh this year, the event organisers said.
The Kumbh Mela Force, a government body, told Hindustan Times that 91 lakh pilgrims took the holy dip in the Ganga from January 14 to April 27. And at least 6 lakh people congregated in April when India reported the world's highest-ever single-day COVID-19 cases.
The highest gathering was reported on April 12, the first day of shahi snan - 35 lakh, followed by 32 lakh on March 11, for Maha Shivratri. On the second shahi snan on April 14, 13 lakh pilgrims took the holy dip. The numbers fell to 25,000 for the third shahi snan on April 27.
Nearly 2,000 seers of 13 'akhadas' (sects) had taken a dip in the Ganga at Har Ki Pairi ghat which was reserved exclusively for them, officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on April 17 appealed sadhus to observe the remaining duration of the Kumbh only in a "symbolic" manner. Following his appeal, different 'akhadas' had agreed to keep their participation symbolic. The Kumbh will formally close only on April 30.
With 3,23,144 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases has climbed to 1,76,36,307, while the national recovery rate has further dropped to 82.54 percent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday. Uttarakhand reported 5,058 COVID-19 cases on Monday with Dehradun registering 2,034 cases and Haridwar 1,002 cases.
Around 2,000 seers of the Joona, Agni, Avahan, Kinnar, Udasin, Bada and Naya Udasin, Nirmal and Niranjani akhadas and three Bairagi akhadas kept the 'snan' symbolic on Chaitra Purnima, Zonal Officer of LIU, Haridwar, Sunita Verma said.
-With inputs from PTI
First Published: IST