Haridwar (Uttarakhand) [India], April 17 (ANI): Amid surging COVID-19 cases in the country, Swami Avdheshanand Giri, Acharya Mahamandleshwar, Juna Akhara on Saturday said his Akhara has immersed the deities and now the Kumbh Mela in Haridwar has concluded for them.
Taking to Twitter, Swami Avdheshanand Giri said the safety of the people of the country is Akhada's first priority, and in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Juna Akhada is ending the Kumb Mela early.
"The safety of the people of India is our first priority. In view of the rising outbreak of the Corona epidemic, we have duly immersed all the deities drawn from Kumbh. This is the formal immersion-competition of Kumbh from Juna Akhada," he tweeted.
Notably, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had spoken to Swami Avdheshanand Giri, Acharya Mahamandleshwar, Juna Akhara to inquire about the health of the seers and requested him to keep the religious congregation symbolic due to the pandemic.
Later in a video message, Swami Avdheshanand Giri said that the country is united to follow Prime Minister's call to keep Kumbha Mela symbolic, and said, "Many other Akhadas and seers are coming forward to end the Kumbh Mela in view of the pandemic."
According to Dr SK Jha, Chief Medical Officer, Haridwar, at least 175 'sadhus' who attended Kumbh Mela have tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.
"So far, 229 sadhus tested positive for the disease," said Dr Jha.
The first bath was held on March 11 on the occasion of Mahashivratri, the second took place on April 14 and the third on April 14. The fourth shahi snan is scheduled on April 27.
According to the schedule of major events, four 'shahi snan' and nine 'Ganga Snan' will take place at Haridwar this year. The 'snans' are a part of the Kumbh Mela that is supposed to be held in Haridwar from April 1 to April 30.
The duration of the Kumbh festival has been shortened to 30 days this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Kumbh is held periodically at four different locations in India -- Nashik, Haridwar, Prayagraj, and Ujjain. In normal circumstances, Kumbh continues for nearly four months but this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the duration of the congregation has been curtailed to one month. (ANI)