Simhastha Kumbh Mela: Over 5 crore people expected in Ujjainhttps://indianexpress.com/photos/picture-gallery-others/simhastha-kumbh-mela-over-5-crore-people-expected-in-ujjain-2765271/

Simhastha Kumbh Mela: Over 5 crore people expected in Ujjain

Devotees took holy dip in River Shipra a day before beginning of Kumbh Mela in Ujjain.

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Braving scorching heat, a multitude of sadhus along with their disciples chanting 'Jai Shri Ram' took 'shahi snan' (royal bath) at Ramghat in Shipra river here this noon on the opening day of the month-long Simhastha-Kumbh mela.

People drawn from different parts of the country and abroad are taking part in the Kumbh mela, one of the largest congregations of Hindus, which for the first time is witnessing the participation of the transgenders, who have put up an Akhara (temporary monastery) and announced to take a holy dip at the Gandharav Ghat of Shipra on May 9. (Source: Reuters)

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At around 8.15 am a stampede like situation was witnessed at Chhoti Pool area at the entrance of Ramghat when large number of seers in processions descended for the royal bath. However, the situation was brought under control by the authorities swiftly.

A Hindu devotee carries his disabled friend after taking a holy dip in the waters of the river Shipra during the Simhastha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain. (Source: Reuters)

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Bada Udasin Akhara Pontiff Raghu Muni Maharaj along with others squatted at Ramghat for a while and protested against the vehicular traffic in the mela area. He said that the vehicular traffic was obstructing seers' way to the ghat. However, he lifted his protest after government officials intervene.

A Hindu holy man displays his hair after taking a dip in the waters of the river Shipra during the Simhastha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain. (Source: Reuters)

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Earlier, the Kumbh mela kicked off with Naga Sadhu of Juna Akhara venturing into the river around 5 am. Their head, Avdheshnandji Maharaj, who came in a huge procession took the 'shahi snan' amid tight security arrangements.

Sadhus of Aavahan akhada in a religious procession during (Peshwai) for Simhastha Maha Kumbh mela in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh on Sunday. (Source: PTI)

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"As of now, all things are going on smoothly. Around 25,000 security personnel including central forces have been deployed to conduct the 'shahi snan'," Inspector General of Police, Ujjain, Madhu Kumar told PTI at Ramghat at noon.

Devotees take holy dip in River Shipra during the Simhasta Kumbh Mela in Ujjain on Thursday. (Source: PTI)

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Meanwhile, lakhs of people thronged the roads leading to the ghats of Shipra river and waiting in serpentine queues to take the royal bath during the Mela which is being held here after a gap of 12 years.
Ujjain is also the abode of Lord Mahakaleshwar, one of the 12 'jyotirlings' in the country.

A sadhu feeds a deer at a camp on the eve of the beginning of month long Simhastha Maha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh on Thursday. (Source: PTI)

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"Over five crore pilgrims are expected to visit Ujjain and other holy places during the Kumbh, for which elaborate security and logistical arrangements have been made," Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had said last evening on the eve of the mela at Bhopal.

Army personnel prepare a pontoon bridge at the banks of holy river of Kshipra as a part of preparations for Simhastha Maha Kumbh in Ujjain on Wednesday. (Source: PTI)

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Foreigner devotees with Sadhus take part in a religious procession during Peshwai ahead of Simhastha Maha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh on Monday. (Source: PTI)