Thursday, July 31, 2003, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Simhasta Kumbh Mela begins

A sadhu talks on his mobile phone at Tapovan in Nasik on Tuesday. — PTI photo

Nasik, July 30
With the blowing of the conch and chanting of mantras, the saffron flag was hoisted here to mark the beginning of the year-long Simhasta Kumbh mela.

Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi, along with Maharashtra Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde performed the “dhwaja rohan” (flag hoisting) ceremony at Ramkund on the banks of the Godavari at the auspicious mahurat of 11.51 a.m., coinciding with Jupiter’s entry into the sign of Leo.

Earlier, the Simhasta flag, with a golden border and bearing the image of a majestic lion, was consecrated along with a “Kumbha kalash” by a purohit and sadhus. As the flag went up, the cries of “Prabhu Ram” and “Jai Shri Ram” reverberated on the banks of the Godavari.

Lakhs of devotees thronged the Ramkund area that wore a festive look with saffron flags and buntings adorning every nook and corner, even as strict security was being maintained in view of Monday’s blast in Mumbai.

Knee-deep waters at Ramkund due to flooding of the river failed to dampen the spirit of the devotees, even as a large number of lifeguards were stationed in the gushing waters.

In Trimbakeshwar, Balchandra Shastri Muley, local “Vachaspati”, hoisted the flag at Kushavartak Tirtha in the presence of Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Chhagan Bhujbal.

Devotees raised slogans in praise of Lord Shiva as the saffron flag of silk bearing images of Jupiter, Sun and Moon was hoisted, with the mahants chanting mantras.

However, Parmanand Saraswati, national president of Dasa Panchanam Juna Akhada, which has boycotted the event is protest against the government’s move to acquire temples, obstructed Mr Bhujbal while he was proceeding to take part in the event. He was allowed to go only after he assured them to take up the matter with the Centre.

Sadhus of different akhadas, who had earlier threatened to boycott the flag-hoisting ceremony, participated in the event after city Mayor Dashrath Patil urged them to join the function and also take a holy dip, according to president of the Nasik Purohit Sangh, Satish Shukla. However, mahants and sadhus of 10 akhadas in Trimbakeshwar continued with their boycott, president of the Akhil Bhartiya Akhada Parishad, Sagaranand Saraswati, said.

The Kumbh Mela will witness six holy dips — three in Nasik and three in Trimbakeshwar — where mahants and sadhus of different akhadas from various parts of the country will take out Shahi Miravanuk (royal procession) and take a holy dip in the Godhavari.

The holy dips will be held in Nasik on August 17 and 27 and September 1, while those in Trimbakeshwar will be held on August 17 and 27 and September 7. The Kumbh Mela will conclude on August 27, 2004.

Meanwhile, a high alert has been sounded in and around Nasik following the blast in Mumbai on Monday, with tightening of security around key areas, including sadhugram. — PTI



Home | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Editorial |
Business | Sport | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh Tribune | Ludhiana Tribune
50 years of Independence | Tercentenary Celebrations |
123 Years of Trust | Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |