Kumbh Mela: Top Seers Agree To Symbolic Participation

Haridwar: Seers at the Kumbh Mela on Saturday decided to participate in the last Shahi Snan on April 27 in a symbolic manner.

The Mahamandleshwar of the biggest of 13 Akhadas, Juna Akhada, conveyed the decision hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi requested Avdheshanand Giri over phone to hold the rest of the Mahakumbh symbolically because of the alarming rise in COVID-19 cases across the country.

“The Mahakumbh will go on, but due to the surge in Covid-19 cases and on the request of PM Modi, seers of Juna Akhada have decided to participate in the last Shahi Snan on April 27 only symbolically,” Giri said.

Giri urged pilgrims to come in lesser numbers for the fourth Shahi Snan. “Mahakumbh will go on but owing to the recent wave of Covid-19 cases in the entire country we all need to be cautious. Religion and customs-traditions are vital but nothing is more important than life. It’s important to pay heed to the PM’s suggestion,” he added.

A large number of seers have started leaving Haridwar. “Traditionally the fourth Shahi Snan is attended mainly by the seers of the three Bairagi Akhadas, and for all the rest 10 Akhadas the Baishakhi Shahi Snan is the important one after which they start leaving,” Giri explained.

“Juna Akhada will be taking part in the April 27 Chaitra Poornima Shahi Snan symbolically and I urge other Akhadas to follow suit,” he said.

The Mela’s governing body Akhil Bhartiya Akhada Parishad maintained that the Mahakumbh won’t be curtailed.

“It will be held till the completion of its designated period on April 30 as it has been held traditionally since centuries. However, amid the Covid-19 surge, we are committed to adhere to the Covid-19 safety norms,” said Akhada Parishad general secretary Mahant Hari Giri.

Around 2,000 Kumbh devotees tested positive for coronavirus in the span of one week. A seer passed away after contracting the virus, while and 80 other holy men have tested positive after attending the holy Kumbh Mela.

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