The first of the four holy dips is significant to devotees and is an intrinsic part of the Maha Kumbh Mela, which is celebrated once every 12 years.
Devotees took their first Shahi Snan or holy dip at Mahakumbh, in Haridwar, on Thursday, amid strict protocols in light of the COVID-19 pandemic by the Central and state governments. The first of the four holy dips is significant to devotees and is an intrinsic part of the Maha Kumbh Mela, which is celebrated once every 12 years.
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According to ANI, over 20 lakh devotees have taken the holy dip since the wee hours of Thursday.
This year, devotees can have a bath in the Ganga for 20 minutes only. This is part of the special COVID-19 protocols set by Central and state governments to be followed by all parties involved in the Kumbh in Haridwar. The rules range from mandatory usage of masks to isolation of those exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
In light of the pandemic, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for COVID-19 was released by the governments and was relayed to pilgrims, hostels, restaurants, ashrams, ghats, parking areas, railway, and bus station authorities. The Mela area falls in the Haridwar, Pauri Garhwal, and Dehradun districts of Uttarakhand and is spread over 156 sq-km. The Mela attracts people from India and abroad, making it the largest religious congregation in the world.
All devotees will have to register at the Kumbh Mela web portal (https://dsclservices.org.in/kumbh/), ahead of the pilgrimage. Here, a mandatory medical fitness certificate will also be asked of pilgrims coming from other states.
Additionally, a state directive was also put in place that requires devotees to get a COVID-19 RT-PCR test done within 72 hours before their visit. The reports will be checked at all entry points and other checkpoints in the Mela area and district borders. Only those devotees who a negative test report would be allowed in the Mela area.
Kumbh Mela helplines (Source: uttarakhandtourism.gov.in)
(Edited by : Ajay Vaishnav)
First Published: Mar 11, 2021 3:12 PM IST