iconimg Sunday, April 19, 2015

BK Singh, Hindustan Times
Allahabad, January 14, 2013
About 10 million people took the holy dip on Makar Sankranti, the first important bathing festival of the 55-day Kumbh mela, which passed of peacefully. Lakhs of devotees were seen thronging the bathing area since the early hours of Monday. Keeping in view the first days of the past melas, the Kumbh administration and the police had not expected huge rush but the administration and the police went into tizzy after realising that crowd had started swelling from Sunday evening.

Traffic restrictions inside the city as well as on the periphery were imposed but it was of little help.

"The idea was to stagger the crowd," said a police officer. But this methodology had little bearing as crowds suddenly rushed towards Kumbh city from all directions.

As a result, many pilgrims from Kanpur, Fatehpur and Kaushambi districts had to return home due to strict traffic regulations.

While this happened in the west of the city, similar scenes prevailed at the three other entry points of the city.

According to the administration, Makar Sankranti snan started at 3am on Monday.

Shahi snan by akharas is the mainstay of Kumbh and the administration had made elaborate arrangements for its peaceful conduct. As planned, it was Mahanirvani akhara nagas who took the first dip. They were followed by Atal, Niranjani, Anand, Juna, Agni, Nirvani, Digambar and others.

This spectacular bathing event was shot by national and international media, including film and documentary makers.