Kumbh to continue, no information of it being curtailed: Mela Officer

Haridwar: The Kumbh Mela at Haridwar will continue and there is no information of it being curtailed, an official said on Wednesday. 

A large number of devotees gathered at Haridwar’s Har Ki Pauri on Wednesday for Ganga Arti amid the COVID-19 scare.

Deepak Rawat, District Magistrate, Haridwar, and Kumbh Mela officer said the event used to begin in January but due to the COVID-19 situation, the state government decided to start it in April this time.

“The Centre’s SOP said because of the situation, the duration would be reduced. I have no information of it being curtailed,” he said.

Lakhs of devotees have been gathering for the event on the banks of the river Ganga for a holy dip amid concerns over the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country. The Kumbh Mela is being held from April 1 to 30 this year. 

The state government said that till 6 pm, a staggering 13,51,631 devotees had taken a dip on what is considered one of the most auspicious days of the Kumbh.

Maha Kumbh Mela’s first Shahi Snan was held on the occasion of Mahashivratri on March 11, followed by the second on the occasion of Somvati Amavasya which took place on April 12. As per the schedules of Maha Kumbh, there are a total of four ‘Shahi Snan’ and nine ‘Ganga Snan’ which will take place in Haridwar this year.

The next significant Kumbh day is April 27.

Uttarakhand recorded its highest single-day spike in COVD-19 cases with 1,953 people testing positive in the last 24 hours.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat had said on Tuesday that there is no comparison between the event held at Nizamuddin Markaz in Delhi and Kumbh in Haridwar as the former was held in a closed space while the latter is being held in a vast open area.

“There is no comparison between Markaz and Kumbh. Markaz was in a closed hall. All the people slept in a single hall with close contacts. They shared blankets. On the contrary, there are 16 ghats in Kumbh. Not just Haridwar, Kumbh is spread from Rishikesh to Nilkanth. Devotees take bath in different ghats at different times,” he said.