The Simhastha Kumbh fair is over a month ahead but people from neighbouring cities are thronging the under-construction fair ground on Sundays to seek blessings of seers.
Rajendra Malviya, who runs a battery-operated, four-seater rickshaw, has his Sundays packed with advance bookings for a 30 km tour to the fair area. Rickshaws, like his, are fast growing popular as they are open from all sides, allowing passengers to sightsee akhara camps built on either sides of the road.
Harvinder Kaur from Ujjain said, “The city has transformed into a metropolis with several new works. So, we thought of visiting these places as it would be difficult to move swiftly on vehicles here during Simhastha.”
In the evening, places like Purushottam Sagar, Ramghat, Chamunda park are attracting crowds for their light-and-sound shows.
Vikram Choudhary, a resident of Indore, said, “We usually go out for picnic on Sundays. So we chose Ujjain as we have multiple benefits of having darshan at Mahakal and seeking blessings from saints at Simhastha area.”
The district administration, too, has started a bus service offering a two-hour long trip to the fair area and adjacent developmental works for a nominal fare of Rs 10. Ujjain mayor Meena Jonwal said, “The service has been started so that people can have a look at the series of construction and beautification works carried out to welcome crores of pilgrims.”