Mahakumbh 2021 may not see mass participation owing to Covid-19: Akhada Parishad
To ensure hassle-free hosting of the Mahakumbh Mela, Akhada Parishad will also organise a three-day major worship ritual across the country from June 21.Updated: Jun 12, 2020 17:21 IST
Owing to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, uncertainty now looms large over the 2021 Mahakumbh Mela in the holy city of Haridwar. Scheduled to be held in the first quarter of next year, the Mahakumbh in 2010 had attracted 50 million pilgrims and this time, before the epidemic, officials had expected that over 120 million pilgrims would participate in the fair next year.
Keeping in mind the Covid-19 situation, the apex body of the Akhadas---Akhil Bharatiya Akhada Parishad- has stated that it is not averse to holding the Kumbh mela in a restrictive manner with only a selected lot of Akhada saints allowed to take part in the fair, adhering to social distancing norms.
Akhada Parishad is of the view that the foremost priority of the government should be to hold the Kumbh in a proper way if the situation turns normal, but in case such a situation arises wherein the coronavirus spread threatens the Kumbh pilgrimage then it should be held in a restrictive manner and at a small level.
“Be it Mughal or British era or post-independence, the Kumbh mela has been held at the same date decided as per astrological calculations. Kumbh 2021 will also be held at an auspicious time decided by astrologers but as coronavirus spread has now touched the 10,000 positive patients per day mark, in special circumstances we are ready to carry out the fair in a small and ritualistic-symbolic manner only,” Mahant Hari Giri Maharaj, general secretary of Akhada Parishad said.
To ensure hassle-free hosting of the Mahakumbh Mela, Akhada Parishad will also organise a three-day major worship ritual across the country from June 21.
These rituals are being conducted for the successful hosting of the Mahakumbh and the eradication of coronavirus from the planet.
Akhada Parishad has also cautioned all the temple-ashram management committees to close respective temples for pilgrims if they come across any violation of social distancing and preventive measures by devotees.
Additional Kumbh Mela officer Lalit Narayan Mishra said that the mela administration is ensuring time-bound completion of work related to the Kumbh and readying for the mega fair as per the schedule.
Mishra pointed out that “as still more than six months are left for the mega fair, the mela administration is ensuring the best possible facilities for pilgrims who come for the Kumbh.”
Under the Kumbh Mela budget, an amount of about Rs 350 crore has been sanctioned for various infrastructural work. These have a deadline of November 2020.
Religious scholar Shiv Charan Naudiyal pointed out that whether the coronavirus gets contained or remains stable, pilgrims will arrive for Kumbh and the holy Ganga dip as faith transcends all hurdles and boundaries.