Watch video: Chaos erupts near Saptashrungi shrine in Maharashtra's Nashik; lack of bus services irks devotees

Over one lakh devotees turned up at the temple on the special occasion of Maha Saptami, the seventh day of holy Navratri festival.

Vibhuti SanchalaUpdated: Monday, October 03, 2022, 04:21 PM IST
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Maharashtra: Chaos erupts near Saptashrungi shrine in Nashik; lack of bus services irks devotees | FPJ/Vibhuti Sanchala

The local authorities’ failure to control the crowds led to a ‘stampede-like’ situation at the famous Saptashrungi temple in Maharashtra’s Nashik on Sunday.

More than one lakh devotees turned up at the temple on the special occasion of Maha Saptami, the seventh day of holy Navratri festival, despite the COVID-19 restrictions and the rush to enter briefly led to a chaotic situation. Thankfully, no injuries were reported.

A huge crowd gathered and people were seen pushing each other in order to board the bus that would take them to the temple located atop a mountain. Some even climbed on the roof top of the vehicles, entering through its windows. Irked by the lack of bus services to take them to the exit, devotees also vandalised the buses by breaking windows.

Children, women and elderly were seen troubled as they tried to find their way to the temple. By evening as many as three to four buses had broken down and stopped midway, blocking the narrow roads on the ghat. Devotees were forced to walk to the ghat region.

Several people also staged a dharna by sitting on the roads expressing their anger for lack of proper management.

The authorities, in order to control the escalating situation, had put up barricades near the ticket counter for the elevator that took devotees directly to the temple.

A police official speaking about the situation said, "The crowd that turned up was much larger than what we expected."

"The bus services were affected due to overcrowding. However, we managed to do our best to control the situation. Despite a few buses breaking down, we ran bus services 24X7 to help devotees commute hassle-free. We also deployed heavy police personnel to control the situation. Since it was raining for the past few days, we did not expect such a large number of devotees turning up. We are working on improvising the services so that such incidents does not repeat in the future," said an official from the Shree Saptashrungi Niwasini Devi Trust.

On the occasion of Maha Saptami and ongoing Navratri festival, we have organised a 'mela' and free food for the devotees, he added.

Raj Thackeray visits the temple

MNS supremo Raj Thackeray also visited the Saptashrungi shrine on Sunday; many devotees at the temple were uncontrollable upon seeing him in their midst. He had visited the temple to seek blessing on Maha Saptami.

About Saptashrungi temple

Situated 60 kms from Maharashtra’s Nashik, Saptashrungi temple is one of three and half Shakti Peethas of the state. The temple is also one among the 51 Shakti Peethas and is a location where one of Sati’s limbs, her right arm is reported to have fallen.

Every year, a large number of devotees visit the shrine to seek the blessings of Goddess Saptashrungi Nivasini, who dwells within the seven mountain peaks.

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