On the occasion of Mahashivratri on Thursday, thousands of devotees took the holy dip at Har Ki Pauri ghat in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar, amid a tight security ring thrown around the area for the ‘Shahi Snan’.
This ‘Shahi Snan’ is one of the firsts of Kumbh Mela 2021. According to the schedule of major events, four ‘Shahi Snan’ and nine ‘Ganga Snan’ will take place at Haridwar this year.
The ‘Shahi Snan’ being held today has an extensive security arrangement and has been made to ensure the safety and security of the devotees there. Reportedly approximately 5000 security personnel, hundreds of CCTVs, and drones have been deployed by the Haridwar Kumbh Mela administration for surveillance.
Earlier today, Sanjay Gunjyal, inspector general of police (Kumbh Mela) in Haridwar said, “Up to 22 lakh devotees have performed the ‘snan’ till now. We are going to begin the process of emptying this ghat (Har Ki Pauri) as ‘akharas’ are getting ready for ‘shahi snan’.”
Uttarakhand director general of police Ashok Kumar said, “For akharas, bath timings at Har Ki Pauri is from 8am to 5pm, while for the general public, it’s before 8am and after 5pm.”
During a meeting on Wednesday, Uttarakhand’s new Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat had instructed senior officials that pilgrims, who come for the first holy dip on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri, will be showered with flowers from helicopters.
The ‘Snans’ are a part of the Kumbh Mela that is supposed to be held in Haridwar from April 1 to April 30 in order to limit the festival this year to 30 days due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Maha Shivratri is considered auspicious for spiritual growth. The festival, also known as ‘the great night of Shiva’, celebrates the overcoming of darkness and ignorance.
It also celebrates the grand marriage of the lord of destruction, Shiva — with the goddess of fertility, love, and beauty — Parvati, who is also known as Shakti (power).
According to Hindu mythology, on the night of the marriage, Lord Shiva had a very diverse group of acquaintances including Hindu gods, goddesses, animals, and demons escorting him to the house of the goddess.
The duo of Shiv and Shakti is considered to be the epitome of love, power, and togetherness. The festival marking the initiation of their bond – ‘Maha Shivratri’ – is celebrated with great fervour across India.