The Godavari Maha Pushkaralu that opened tragically with a stampede that killed 27 on July 14 is a once-in-144-years spectacle, much bigger than the Kumbh currently on in Nashik. It is also the first Pushkaralu since the division of Andhra Pradesh, and N Chandrababu Naidu’s government has pulled out all the stops in its celebration
‘Great Worship of Godavari’
Began at 6.26 am on July 14, and will end on Saturday (July 25) evening. Normal Pushkaralus are held every 12 years; the Maha Pushkaralu, similar to the Maha Kumbh, occurs once every 144 years. The next Maha Pushkaralu will be in 2159.
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Crores of worshippers
By 10 am on July 22, 3,20,68,260 people had taken a dip in the holy river at 425 bathing ghats in the East and West Godavari districts, according to Andhra Pradesh government figures. Over 2 crore bathed at the 30-odd ghats at Rajahmundry, the main venue. 23 lakh took a dip on the first day of the Pushkaralu.
Thousands in bandobast
35,000 police personnel; 2,000 buses and 25 special trains to ferry pilgrims; 10 lakh water and food packets distributed daily to needy pilgrims; 6,000 priests; 17,000 sanitation workers to clean the ghats; 3,500 swimmers and 1,000 boats on standby as safety measures.
In Telangana too
In Telangana, the major Pushkara ghats are in Basar (Adilabad district), Dharmapuri (Karimnagar), Kandakurthi (Nizamabad), Kaleswaram (Karimnagar) and Bhadrachalam (Khammam). So far, over 1 crore people have taken a dip at 167 bathing ghats. The Telangana government has arranged for over 1,500 buses; 22 special trains have been running since July 14.