Thousands of devotees took a dip in Ramkund and Kushawart at River Godavari, marking the beginning of the Simhastha Kumbh Mela at Nashik and Trimbakeshwar on Tuesday.
The gathering of lakhs of devotees and sadhus from different sects (akharas) takes place every 12 years, according to the Hindu calendar. A traditional flag is hoisted on the first day of the mela, which is lowered a year later. Union home minister Rajnath Singh presided over the ceremony at Trimbakeshwar, while chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was the chief guest at another such event in Nashik.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “My good wishes to all pilgrims on the start of the Kumbh Mela in Nashik. Have a wonderful pilgrimage, filled with joy and spirituality.”
While a naval chopper showered flowers on devotees, the administration has put up tents to create sadhu-gram on a 315-acre plot. The shahi snaan, the day when sadhus from various groups take a dip in the river, will be held on August 29, September 13 and 25. The administration expects around one crore devotees to attend the event, which will be held over the year.
“Taking a dip washes away all evils and brings good luck,” said Jayant Shikhre, chairman of Purohit Sangh.
The state government is expected to generate a revenue of Rs 10,000 crore, according to an Assocham report.