Record 4.5 crore take holy dip in Godavari

A record 4.5 crore devotees have taken a dip in Godavari river across Andhra Pradesh as part of 'Kumbh of the South' Godavari Pushkaram.

india Updated: Aug 11, 2003 18:22 IST

A record 4.5 crore devotees have taken a dip in Godavari river across Andhra Pradesh so far as part of "Godavari Pushkaram", considered the "Kumbh Mela of the South", which will conclude on Sunday, official sources said.

It is virtually a sea of humanity thronging the bathing ghats at the temple towns along the Godavari course spread over seven districts, with Rajahmundry in East Godavari district hosting the main event.

The sources said the pilgrim turnout might cross five crore, the highest in the history of the state.

As massive crowd of devotees thronged over 140 bathing ghats, an over-stretched administration is finding it difficult to manage the surging crowds.

Occurring once in 12 years when Jupiter enters the zodiac sign of Leo, the 12-day mela evoked immense religious fervour with Hindus from across the country congregating along the banks of Godavari.

The state health department staff manning the medical centres set up at Pushkaram sites had to work overtime providing help to pilgrims showing up with minor ailments.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today directed the officials to utilise the 10-day Pushkaram festival experience for preparing a manual for future events.

Naidu, who reviewed the arrangements in a teleconference here, directed the officials to continue the progress of development works which has taken place in seven districts during the pushkaram festival.

The Chief Minister while congratulating the officials for preserving the data, storing the information and experience, said the progress of the Pushkarams would served as a good research project for government officials as well as academicians.

The pushkaram festival, which conclude tomorrow, has been a glaring testimony for communal harmony, religious tolerance and amity, he said adding, it was heartening to see that people from other religions have actively taken part in the festival in the preparations, arrangements and events.

The Chief Minister also said the post-pushkaram activities should be taken up with utmost care in all the pushkaram towns like removal of garbage and ensuring sanitation.

First Published: Aug 09, 2003 23:13 IST