The celebration of Kumbh Mela is considered to be one of the most devout celebrations among the Hindus. Usually, it takes place on the banks of the Godavari River in Nashik, the Shipra region in Ujjain, the Ganges River in Haridwar and also at the confluence of Yamuna, Ganga and Sarasvati River in Prayag. With an approx. a cycle of 12 years, the year 2021 brings the auspicious and pious welcome of the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar.
In 2021, the onset of this religious fiesta began from the first of April on Thursday. Keeping in mind the seriousness of this pandemic, it will be held for a very short time with comparison to other previous years, that is, only for thirty days, that is, from first of April to thirtieth of April. Since the previous year 2020, this COVID-19 thing has made us face a lot of challenges. People’s lives had a new turning and they had to face a lot of restrictions regarding celebration of any event. Amidst the second wave of this virus and its enormous spread over different parts of the country, the Kumbh Mela of 2021 is restricted by several guidelines. These are meant to ensure the safety of the people participating in this Kumbh mela.
The devotees who had registered for this mela must know about all its guidelines that include a negative RT-PCR test report. Testing negative for the COVID is also very obvious and compulsory for the people. Like every time, this year also there will be large gatherings, so people must be more careful regarding social distancing. Devotees must abide by the laws and rules set up by the administration. Everyone must wear a mask and avoid unnecessary social contact. The devotees gathering for the holy dip must take care of their hygiene and belongings.
The Kumbh Mela conduct of “Shahi Snan” is the most pious part of it among the devotees. The holy dip at certain ghats has utmost significance in Hindu culture. From the four Shahi snan, the first one was held on the auspicious day of Shivratri on the eleventh of March. The upcoming snan will be in the month of April. The twelfth of April brings the second Shahi snan on the day of Somvati Amavasya, while the third Shahi snan is to be held on fourteenth of April, on Makar Sankranti. According to the “Ganga-snan”, the “Ram-Navami” snan will also occur on twenty-first of April. With the departure of this holy month, on Baisakh Purnima, the final Shahi snan will take place on twenty-seventh of April.
The Kumbh Mela of 2021 will definitely differ from the one we had envisaged earlier. The concerned authorities have not only reduced the time span of celebration but also taken measures while maintaining the sacredness of the pilgrimage. According to this, any prospect regarding testing positive for COVID-19 will be immediately isolated. The places where the devotees will stay like ashrams and dharamshalas, will also undergo timely sanitation and cleanliness.
Apart from hygiene, the other concerned safety measures are also to be implemented. Trained volunteers and other authorities will take care of the maintenance of social distancing at ghats and other places as well. Little children, old people and pregnant ladies are prohibited to enter the ghat for safety reasons. Proper disposal of the used mask and gloves is also a must.
Regions like the bathing ghats and melas, where many people gather, are more prone to have consequences leading to infringement of the COVID norms. That is why, proper registration and an admission pass will be entertained for permissible participation in holy gatherings.
The Kumbh Mela is supposed to occur after every twelve years but due to certain holy reasons and movement of stars in Hindu mythology, it has begun after eleven years this time in 2021. Despite the serious and challenging phase of the pandemic, the authorities have paid heed to the concern of the devotees. The good thing is that the spirituality among the devotees is still alive and their participation in this Kumbh Mela shows their dedication towards this holy celebration. Whatever challenge may come, abiding by the norms of the safety measures, and keeping alive the hope of a better and blessed future, the spirituality of the Kumbh Mela will always glorify its beauty among the people.