Mathura: Hundreds of devotees took a dip at the Yamuna ghats in Uttar Pradesh`s Mathura and Vrindavan cities on the occasion of Yam Dwitiya Saturday morning, undeterred by the stink and high level of pollutants in the water, activists said.
As per police estimates, the number could well be more than 100,000. A local pandit at the Vishram Ghat, Jagdish, said: "Pilgrims started arriving at the ghats around 4 a.m. Saturday..."
Yam Dwitiya is a special day to appease the god of death Yam Raj and so it is customary for brothers and sisters to take a bath in the river Yamuna holding hands.
However, the various organisations representing the Brahmin and Chaturvedi samaj, have expressed concern and anger at the failure of the state government to release fresh water in the Yamuna to reduce pollutants.
"This is the most important bathing festival in Mathura and the administration was requested a week in advance to ensure more fresh water was released in the river but they have not bothered," said Raj Kumar Kappu, convener of the Mathur Chaturved Parishad.
Locals said people visited the ghat in bigger numbers this year and more pilgrims have come from Bihar and West Bengal.
On Friday, more than 15,000 volunteers of the Yamuna Muktikaran Abhiyan and the Yamuna Rakshak Dal and other agencies vowed to clean the polluted river. They are preparing for the Nov 2 march to Delhi to secure release of water in Yamuna from the Hathini Kund barrage in Haryana.