PRAYAGRAJ, Feb 27 (HS): Lakhs of devotees took a dip in the waters of Sangam here on the occasion of Maghi Purnima, marking the end of the month-long penance period of Kalpwasi pilgrims. According to a press communiqué issued by Prayagraj administration, over 12 lakh devotees took holy dip in bathing ghats of Magh Mela area by 6.00 p.m. on Saturday. Driven by faith and devotion, devotees were overjoyed when flower petals were showered on them from choppers. “More than cleansing my sins, me and my family are here to pray for the souls of our brave Army men killed while safeguarding our borders and for strength of their friends and family. I hope this holy day of Maghi Purnima blesses us all with good wisdom and peaceful thoughts for one and other,” a teary-eyed Ranjan said, resident of Jammu.
There were also chants of ‘Har Har Mahadev’ and ‘Ganga Maiya Ki Jai’ across the Sangam the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers. An old ascetic said Kalpwasi pilgrims living on the banks of the Ganga for nearly a month would head home after taking the dip on Saturday.
“Kalpwasis are usually regarded the most faithful pilgrims of Magh Mela. They vow to live an austere and minimalist life on the banks of the Ganga for a month,” he said. A nip in the air failed to deter the overwhelming crowd of devotees seen taking the holy dip at the Sangam as early as 4 am, despite vehicle restrictions. “I have seen that the crowd picks up later in the day. So it makes sense to take the dip early in the morning,” said Aditya Langar from Pathankot, who was busy drying up his clothes after taking the dip.
Bathing facilities in most of the sectors were developed to facilitate the devotees and Kalpvasis. Large number of devotees and tourists had reached at Magh Mela on Friday for taking ‘holy dip’ on the occasion. The administration had imposed traffic restrictions in the district in view of heavy rush of pilgrims. Entry of heavy vehicles was restricted into the district and all types of vehicles including pass holders were banned to enter into the Mela. Only vehicles related to essential services, media and administration were allowed.