Kumbh Mela: Nashik gears up for first 'shahi snan'

As the first shahi snan (holy dip) on August 29 at Nashik and Trimbakeshwar towns during the ongoing Kumbh Mela draws near, the district administration here is leaving no stone unturned to facilitate the famous ritual for the visitors.

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Nashik: As the first shahi snan (holy dip) on August 29 at Nashik and Trimbakeshwar towns during the ongoing Kumbh Mela draws near, the district administration here is leaving no stone unturned to facilitate the famous ritual for the visitors.

Thousands of mahants and sadhus, belonging to the Digambar, Nirmohi and Nirvani akhadas of Vaishnava?sect, would take the first holy dip in Nashik, while those of the 10 akhadas of Shaiva sect would do so at Trimbakeshwar, 30 kms from here, District Collector Deependra Singh Kushwah said.

Nashik Police Commissioner, S Jagannathan, issued a notification last evening, listing the royal procession routes, timings of the royal bath by the mahants and sadhus, and the sequence of the processions by the various akhadas, at Nashik.

As per the notification, the royal procession will begin from Tapovan's Laxminarayan temple at 6.00 AM.

The Nirvani akhada would start its procession at 6.00 AM and the mahants and sadhus of this akhada would reach the Ramkund ghat for the bath by 7.00 AM while the Digambar akhada would start its procession at 6.30 AM and reach Ramkund at 7.30 AM.

The Nirmohi akhada would start its procession at 7.00 AM and would reach Ramkund at 8.00 AM for the royal bath.

After the bath, the mahants and sadhus would return to their camp at Sadhu Gram through a separate route, the notification said.

Arrangements have been made for heavy deployment of police force, which will consist of top officials, the Rapid Action Force (RAF), the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) and bomb detection and disposal squads, it said.

Almost all the roads leading to the Godavari river in 3.5 km radius of?the ghats would be closed and made 'no vehicle zone'. Some crossover points have been identified for the convenience of the local residents.

All basic amenities like toilets, drinking water, health services, ambulance services, food points,?sheds for aged people at the outer and inner parkings, signboards displaying directions among others have been set up, it said.

A well-equipped control room would operate, both at Nashik and Trimbakeshwar, to monitor the situation, and a public address system has also been set up, under which instructions will be announced frequently through loudspeakers, which have been installed at almost all major places in the two towns.

The administration has also prepared separate routes for itself and others in case of any emergency, Jagannathan said.

An outer parking has been set up at every entry route to the city to avoid crossing of the devotees, he said.

The Nashik division of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) will provide 3,000 buses at Nashik and Trimbakeshwar to carry the devotees from all the outer parking points to the inner parking points, non-stop throughout the day, he further said.

About 80 lakh devotees from different parts of the country are likely to participate in the holy dip in Nashik city.

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