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Tight security in Nashik for Shahi Snan

Vinod Janardanan and Hemant Joshi in Nashik | August 16, 2003 20:28 IST

At least two million pilgrims and thousands of sadhus and holy men are expected to take the holy dip on Sunday in Ramkund in the second Shahi Snan (royal bath) of the 'Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Sinhastha Kumbh Mela 2003'.

The first royal bath took place in Trimbakeshwar on August 12. 

Only Mahants (head priests) and sadhus belonging to the 'Vaishnav' sect will take holy dip in Sunday's royal bath, which will not see the presence of the enigmatic Naga sadhus.

The Vaishnav sect is spread in three akhada -- Nirvani, Digambar and Nirmohi.

The pilgrim city has become a virtual fortress with thousands of policemen and extra forces drawn from various departments guarding key entry points.

Bomb-detection squads with sniffer dogs have been pressed into service while a rapid action force has been kept as reserve in case of any eventuality, keeping in view the recent terrorist attacks on religious places.

According to Nashik Police Commissioner P T Lohar more than 7000 policemen, 1650 home guards, 6000 volunteers and 15 platoons of State Reserve Police Force have been deployed in the area.

Besides, closed-circuit cameras will keep tight vigil along the route of Shahi Miravanuk (royal procession), which would start from the 'Tapowan', where the sadhus reside, at 7.30 am.

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