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Sunday, August 23, 1998
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Three hundred thousand take holy dip
From K.G. Dutt
Tribune News Service

To see a large photo of the event, please click here

KURUKSHETRA, Aug 22 — Over 3 hundred thousand pilgrims today took a holy dip in the sacred tanks of Sannihit and Brahm Sarovar on the occasion of the solar eclipse. although, the solar eclipse lasted for only 20 minutes, thousands of pilgrims converged on the banks of the sacred sarovars.

As the clock struck 5.55 a.m., pilgrims got ready to take a holy dip. According to Matsya Purana, a holy dip in the sacred waters of the two sarovars confers the benefit of "1,000 yashmedha yajnas".

Most of the devotees started taking holy dips in the evening itself — some continued till midnight. As soon as the eclipse started, the entire area surrounding the sarovar and the Sannihit tank, reverberated with the blowing of conchshells, ringing of bells, beating of drums and recitation of slokas. A large number of pilgrims could be seen praying and chanting hymns throughout the night on the banks of the sarovars. Sadhus and other pilgirms offered prayers to the sun-god and recited slokas like "Narayanai namo, surayae namo" and "har har Mahadev".

Some pilgrims could be seen standing in knee-deep waters throughout the eclipse, praying for the freedom of the sun-god from the clutches of Rahu. According to Hindu mythology, the sun-god is afflicted by Rahu during the eclipse. Thousands of pilgrims distributed alms among sadhus and beggars. Bhandaras were also organised on the occasion.

Religious discourses by sadhus had been going on for the past week in several ashrams around the sarovars. Yajnas were performed for the "benefit of humanity" at Jai Ram Annekshetra.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr T.V.S.N. Prasad, claimed that about 5 lakh pilgrims took a holy dip.

The Haryana Governor, Mr Mahabir Prasad, visited the site last night and expressed satisfaction over the arrangements.

Shopkeepers who had come to the city to do brisk business were disappointed as the duration of the eclipse was short.

The pilgrims had to walk long distances to reach the Sannihit tank and Braham Sarovar. To avoid this, the mela authorities should have allowed parking closer to the tanks.

No untoward incident was reported from the mela area. Motor boats and divers were provided by the Kurukshetra Development Board to avert any tragedy.

Among the VIPs who took a holy dip were the Haryana Governor, the Chief Justice of India, Mr M.M. Punchi, the Minister for Public Relations and Power, Mr Attar Singh Saini the Minister for Housing, Mr Sat Narayan Lathar.back

  Pilgrims take a dip in Brahma Sarovar as the sun struggles to cast off the veil of clouds soon after the solar eclipse at Kurukshetra on Saturday morning. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan.
Pilgrims take a dip in Brahma Sarovar as the sun struggles to cast off the veil of clouds soon after the solar eclipse at Kurukshetra on Saturday morning.

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