Akshaywat likely to be opened to devotees before Magh Mela
PRAYAGRAJ If all goes to plan, the sacred Akshaywat, the indestructible banyan tree situated inside Akbar’s Fort on the banks of Sangam, will once again be opened to devotees, patiently awaiting a glimpse of it since August this year, when it was closed, owing to floods.
A committee was formed by the district administration recently, to assess the condition of Akshaywat’s site and devotees’ access to it after floods, headed by Prayagraj ADM (administration) Vijay Shanker Dubey. Representatives of the army, the Prayagraj Development Authority, the Prayagraj Mela Authority, the tourism department, Prayagraj ADM (City) AK Kanuajia and city magistrate Rajnish Dubey are members of the committee. Kanaujia, Dubey and army officials conducted an inspection of the site on Wednesday evening, the report of which will be submitted to the Prayagraj district magistrate for further action.
According to Dubey, most of the cleaning work at the site of Akshaywat has been completed and the approach path to the sacred place has also been cleaned. He said that soon a decision on opening of the place to devotees may be taken by the district magistrate, most likely before the forthcoming Magh Mela, in January, next year.
During his December 17, 2018 rally in Andawan area of Prayagraj, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Akshawat and Saraswati Koop and announced its opening to devotees. It was formally opened on January 10, 2019 with chief minister Yogi Adityanath offering prayers there.
However, since the army had granted permission for its opening only till March 31, 2019, the officials of Prayagraj Mela Authority were in a state of confusion as to whether the same would be closed from April 1, 2019 onwards or not.
But after the announcement made by UP CM Yogi Adityanath during the formal closing ceremony of 49-day Kumbh Mela on March 5, 2019, at Parade ground that the Akshaywat and Saraswati Koop would remain open 11 months annually with one month closure providing time to the Army to carry out routine work, it was opened to devotees thereafter.
However, during floods in August this year, the army closed it citing presence of poisonous snakes and creatures which had arrived with flood water.