Nearly 1,000 awadhoots took the vow as naga sadhus of Juna Akhara, in one of the grandest ordination ceremonies held on the banks of the Ganga here on Wednesday. A large number of young holy men, children and disabled persons who joined the Akhara some years back, attended the ordination. The chief of Juna Akhara Acharya Mahamandaleshwar Shri Awadheshanandji Maharaj presided over the diksha rituals.
In the first ordination ceremony on January 30, more than 600 awadhoots were ordained as naga sadhus. But in the second ceremony, about 1,000 aspirants applied for nagahood, indicating that there was growing interest among the laity to embrace sanyas. The aspirants had come from different states to be part of this auspicious ceremony. Many from the non-Hindi belt followed the instructions of their guru through sign language. Three foreigners, aged between 20 and 25 years, also attended the ordination to be naga.
Even as the crowd gathered on the other side of the river and the pontoon bridge to watch the sacred ceremony, the awadhoots were not at all distracted and rushed to the river on a single call given by their guru to take holy dip. They then squatted on the river bank and started chanting.