Prayagraj Hosts Magh Mela Amid Covid, Police Keep Strong Vigil
Magh Mela is being observed in Prayagraj amid close police watch and Covid protocols.
Seers and devotees from across the country have gathered at Sangamnagri, also known as Prayagraj, for the Magh Mela.
The mela, known by the name of the month it is held in, marks the Makar Sankranti celebrations and is held on the sands of Prayagraj where Saraswati, Ganga and Yamuna meet.
This year, the Magh Mela has seen a special donation collection drive for the construction of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya. The Magh Mela will extend to 57 days where devotees will take dips in the holy waters for moksha.
Magh Mela is an annual festival held at the Prayag, where pilgrims observe rituals after the first customary bath, offerings made to the Sun and worship.
Khichdi is cooked as part of the festivities, food is offered to seers and gaudaan (the donating of cow) is observed. It marks the ascent of the Sun into the Makar rashi (Capricorn).
Organisations dedicated to serving the seers, devotees and people from all walks of life are offering food and prasad round the clock in Prayagraj.
Special security arrangements have been made by the Uttar Pradesh Police with watch towers in the area. Police chowkis and CCTVs will be in use to keep a strong vigil on a special bridge constructed at the site. A radius of two and half kilometres will be under the constant watch of the police.
The Magh Mela began on Makar Sankranti on 14 January. With special snaans (holy dips) marking the celebrations on Paush Poornima (28 January), Mouni Amavasya (11 February), Basant Panchami (16 February), Magh Poornima (27 February), and the concluding snaan on Mahashivratri (11 March), the mela is expected to witness huge crowds.
The Yogi Adityanath government seems alert on the Covid-19 front. It has said the "kalpwasis" visiting Magh Mela this year in Prayagraj will have to undergo a Covid-19 test. State Chief Secretary R K Tiwari is reported to have said that all "kalpwasis" coming to the mela will have to mandatorily undergo the RT-PCR test.
This report says that the order comes after Noida, Ghaziabad, Meerut and Bareilly reported cases of the new variant of the coronavirus.
Reportedly, seers gathered in Prayagraj for the Magh Mela have thanked Yogi Adityanath for organising the event in these difficult times, saying that it was important to not discontinue the mela, and the related rituals, fasts and celebrations, due to the Covid pandemic.
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