Vrindavan: Kumbh Mela earlier used to be talked about only for Naga sadhu, saints and spiritual reasons, but this year’s mega gathering has “succeeded in a big way” to send out a message of sanitation to the society, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Monday.
Nearly 1.5 crore people gathered on Sunday for the third ‘shahi snan’ at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati in Allahabad, even as the chill in the air failed to dampen the spirit of devotees. He was addressing a huge gathering, at an event in Vrindavan to mark the serving of the “3rd billionth meal” by the Akshaya Patra Foundation, a Bengaluru-based NGO which work with the government on mid-day meal scheme. “This year’s Kumbh has succeeded in big way to send out a message of sanitation to society,” he said.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, in his address, expressed his appreciation for Akshaya Patra for serving safe, hygienic meals to pilgrims at Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj. Modi said, this is the “first time” media and others are talking about ‘swachta’ (cleanliness) when it comes to Kumbh Mela. “Usually it is about Naga sadhus, saints and spirituality. But this time, sanitation is being talked about. The New York Times has published a report about sanitation at the Kumbh,” he said.
With Sunday’s figures, the total number of pilgrims taking the holy dip during the Kumbh this year (up to February 10) has touched 16.44 crore, officials said. Madhu Pandit Dasa, Chairman, Akshaya Patra , said, “About 10,000 meals are being served daily through our kitchen at Kumbh Mela.” “Besides, we have ‘Kitchen-on-Wheels’, which are also serving about the same number of meals at different locations,” he said.
Kumbh Mela, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, is being held in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj from January 15 to March 4. The popular fair draws lakhs of pilgrims over the course of approximately 55 auspicious days to bathe at the sacred confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati.