The last 'shahi snan' at the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar on Tuesday was a subdued affair with seers keeping the ritual symbolic in view of a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases.
Till the conclusion of the royal bath, nearly 2,000 seers of 13 'akhadas' (sects) had taken a dip in the Ganga at Har Ki Pairi ghat which was reserved exclusively for them, officials said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 17 had appealed to sadhus to observe the remaining duration of the Kumbh only in a "symbolic" manner. Following this different 'akhadas' had agreed to keep their participation symbolic.
Crowds at the ghats of the Ganga started thinning down drastically since last week after the key 'akhadas' of seers began pulling out of the Maha Kumbh, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, citing the spike in the number of coronavirus cases. Many spots wore a deserted look on Tuesday at the Kumbh which will formally close only on April 30.
With 3,23,144 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India's total tally of COVID-19 cases has climbed to 1,76,36,307, while the national recovery rate has further dropped to 82.54 per cent, according to the Union health ministry data updated on Tuesday.
Uttarakhand reported 5,058 COVID-19 cases on Monday with Dehradun registering 2,034 cases and Haridwar 1,002 cases.
Around 2,000 seers of the Joona, Agni, Avahan, Kinnar, Udasin, Bada and Naya Udasin, Nirmal and Niranjani akhadas and three Bairagi akhadas kept the 'snan' symbolic on Chaitra Purnima, Zonal Officer of LIU, Haridwar, Sunita Verma said.
Kumbh Mela officer Deepak Rawat, Inspector General (Kumbh Mela) Sanjay Gunjyal and Senior Superintendent of Police, Kumbh Mela, Janmejay Khanduri reviewed the arrangements at Har ki Pairi before commencement of the bath on Tuesday.
Talking to reporters, Rawat thanked the seers for scaling down the shahi snan in response to the prime minister's appeal.