Nashik/Trimbakeshwar: With a prayer on their lips and a desire to attain freedom from the cycle of life, a sea of humanity has congregated at Nashik and Trimbakeshwar for the Simhastha Kumbh Mela 2015, dubbed as one of the largest religious event on the Earth.
The mega event, held once every 12 years when the Sun and Jupiter come together in Leo zodiac sign in the month of Magha as per the Hindu calendar, began on Tuesday morning with raising of flag at Ramkund in Nashik in presence of Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
A similar event was held at Kushvarta Teerth in Trimbakeshwar where Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh did the honours.
Nashik is around 45 kilometres downstream from Trimbakeshwar. The inauguration saw thousands taking the first holy bath of the Kumbh in the holy Godavari.
Of the close to 1 crore people expected to take a holy bath during the Kumbh, most would do so on important bathing dates.
Kumbh Mela dates 2015
August 26- Shravan Shudha- First Snan, August 29 - First Shahi Snan, September 13 - Second Shahi Snan, September 18 - Third Shahi Snan, September 25 - Bhadrapad Shukla Dwadashi - Vaman Dwadashi Snan
Besides the common man, hundreds and thousands of Sadhus are arriving in Nashik for the Kumbh Mela.
Ahead of the Kumbh Mela, grand 'shobha yatras' were taken out in both Nashik and Trimbakeshwar, in which mahants and sadhus of various 'akhadas' participated.
The Maharashtra government has made elaborate arrangements for the sadhus at the specially set up 'Sadhu-Gram' in Nashik. The temporary tent-town has been supplied with toilets, 24-hour drinking water, LPG cylinders and electricity.
The administration has constructed seven new ghats in Nashik - The biggest being Laxmi Narayan ghat and the smallest is Ramkund ghat – to tackle the ever increasing number of pilgrims. As per the plan charted out by the police, the ghat a pilgrim will go to will depend on the route he takes to reach Nashik.
Pilgrims will have to park their vehicles around 10-12 kilometres from the ghat and then take shuttle services to designated spots around 3-5 kilometres from the ghats. They will have to cover the final stretch on foot.
In Trimbakeshwar, vehicles can go a bit closer to the Godavari ghats.