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Spiritual ecstasy at Shahi Snan in Kumbh Mela

Vinod Janardanan and Hemant Joshi in Nashik | August 17, 2003 14:27 IST

Under unprecedented security, over 2 million pilgrims and over 70,000 sadhus on Sunday took a holy dip in Ramkund on the banks of the Godavari river in Nashik as part of 'Shaahi Snan' of Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Sinhastha Kumbh Mela.

Sadhus and mahants belonging to three akhadas of the Vaishnav sect -- Nirvani, Digambar and Nirmohi -- proceeded in a royal procession for the bath from the Lakshmi Narayan temple.

Some sadhus, dressed up in garlands, rode horses and elephants, while others rode in Gypsy cars.

They danced, showed off their prowess with swords, sticks and other weapons and chanted mantras.

The procession was delayed by 45 minutes and the first akhada -- Nirvani -- entered the holy waters at 9.15 am.

The delay was caused by some overenthusiastic devotees attempting to enter the procession. The State Reserve Police Force was summoned and the intruders weeded out.

At the Ramkund, the sadhus offered prayers at the Ganga Godavari temple, which opens only for the Kumbh once in 12 years. The temple was built in 1818 AD.


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