Kumbh Mela: 2.1 million pilgrims take holy dip; social distancing goes for a toss

·6-min read

Amid rising coronavirus cases in the country, an estimated thousands of saffron-clad seers and ash-smeared Nagas flouted COVID-19 norms and converged at Har Ki Pairi for a holy dip in the Ganga during the second royal bath of the Kumbh Mela. They were a part of the estimated 2.1 million pilgrims who took the holy dip in the Ganga river on the occasion of ‘Shahi Snan’ on Monday as part of the ongoing Haridwar Kumbh fair.

Devotees take holy dips in the river Ganges during Shahi snan or a Royal bath at Kumbh mela, in Haridwar in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, Monday, April 12, 2021. As states across India are declaring some version of a lockdown to battle rising Covid cases as part of a nationwide second-wave, thousands of pilgrims are gathering on the banks of the river Ganga for the Hindu festival Kumbh Mela. The faithful believe that a dip in the waters of the Ganga will absolve them of their sins and deliver them from the cycle of birth and death. (AP Photo/Karma Sonam)
Devotees take holy dips in the river Ganges during Shahi snan or a Royal bath at Kumbh mela, in Haridwar in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, Monday, April 12, 2021. As states across India are declaring some version of a lockdown to battle rising Covid cases as part of a nationwide second-wave, thousands of pilgrims are gathering on the banks of the river Ganga for the Hindu festival Kumbh Mela. The faithful believe that a dip in the waters of the Ganga will absolve them of their sins and deliver them from the cycle of birth and death. (AP Photo/Karma Sonam)
Devotees stand behind barricades as they wait for Naga Sadhu or Naked Hindu holy men to arrive for Shahi snan or a Royal bath during Kumbh mela, in Haridwar in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, Monday, April 12, 2021. As states across India are declaring some version of a lockdown to battle rising Covid cases as part of a nationwide second-wave, thousands of pilgrims are gathering on the banks of the river Ganga for the Hindu festival Kumbh Mela. The faithful believe that a dip in the waters of the Ganga will absolve them of their sins and deliver them from the cycle of birth and death. (AP Photo/Karma Sonam)
Devotees stand behind barricades as they wait for Naga Sadhu or Naked Hindu holy men to arrive for Shahi snan or a Royal bath during Kumbh mela, in Haridwar in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, Monday, April 12, 2021. As states across India are declaring some version of a lockdown to battle rising Covid cases as part of a nationwide second-wave, thousands of pilgrims are gathering on the banks of the river Ganga for the Hindu festival Kumbh Mela. The faithful believe that a dip in the waters of the Ganga will absolve them of their sins and deliver them from the cycle of birth and death. (AP Photo/Karma Sonam)
Naga Sadhu or Naked Hindu holy men take holy dips in the river Ganges during Shahi snan or a Royal bath to mark Maha Shivratri festival during Kumbh mela, in Haridwar in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, Thursday, March 11, 2021. (AP Photo)
Naga Sadhu or Naked Hindu holy men take holy dips in the river Ganges during Shahi snan or a Royal bath to mark Maha Shivratri festival during Kumbh mela, in Haridwar in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, Thursday, March 11, 2021. (AP Photo)
Hindu devotees take a holy dip in the Ganges River on the day of Shahi Snan (royal bath) during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival, in Haridwar on April 12, 2021. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP) (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)
Hindu devotees take a holy dip in the Ganges River on the day of Shahi Snan (royal bath) during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival, in Haridwar on April 12, 2021. (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)
Hindu devotees gather on the banks of Ganges River during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on April 11, 2021. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP) (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)
Hindu devotees gather on the banks of Ganges River during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on April 11, 2021. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP) (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)
Hindu devotees gather on the banks of Ganges River during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on April 11, 2021. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP) (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)
Hindu devotees gather on the banks of Ganges River during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on April 11, 2021. (Photo by Money SHARMA / AFP) (Photo by MONEY SHARMA/AFP via Getty Images)
Naga Sadhus or holy man of Niranjani Akhara take a holy dip in Ganges River on the occasion of first royal bath of Shivratri festival during Maha Kumbh Festival , in Haridwar on March 11, 2021 . (Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Naga Sadhus or holy man of Niranjani Akhara take a holy dip in Ganges River on the occasion of first royal bath of Shivratri festival during Maha Kumbh Festival , in Haridwar on March 11, 2021 . (Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
naga Sadhus or holy men of Juna Akhara move towards ganges River to take a holy dip on the occasion of first royal bath of Shivratri festival during Maha Kumbh Festival , in Haridwar on March 11, 2021 . (Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Naga Sadhus or holy men of Juna Akhara move towards the Ganges River to take a holy dip on the occasion of first royal bath of Shivratri festival during Maha Kumbh Festival , in Haridwar on March 11, 2021 . (Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A naga Sadhu or holy man of Juna Akhara smokes weed as others move towards ganges River to take a holy dip on the occasion of first royal bath of Shivratri festival during Maha Kumbh Festival , in Haridwar on March 11, 2021 . (Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A naga Sadhu or holy man of Juna Akhara smokes weed as others move towards ganges River to take a holy dip on the occasion of first royal bath of Shivratri festival during Maha Kumbh Festival , in Haridwar on March 11, 2021 . (Photo by Ritesh Shukla/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Hindu devotees attend evening prayers after taking a holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi Snan (grand bath) on the occasion of the Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Hindu devotees attend evening prayers after taking a holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi Snan (grand bath) on the occasion of the Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Naga Sadhus (Hindu holy men) gather before taking holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Naga Sadhus (Hindu holy men) gather before taking holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Naga Sadhus (Hindu holy men) take holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Naga Sadhus (Hindu holy men) take holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Naga Sadhus (Hindu holy men) gather before taking holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Naga Sadhus (Hindu holy men) gather before taking holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Naga Sadhus (Hindu holy men) gather to take a holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Naga Sadhus (Hindu holy men) gather to take a holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Naga Sadhus (Hindu holy men) take a holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Naga Sadhus (Hindu holy men) take a holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Naga Sadhus (Hindu holy men) take holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Naga Sadhus (Hindu holy men) take holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Followers of the Kinnar Akhara monastic Hindu order made up of transgender members take a holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Followers of the Kinnar Akhara monastic Hindu order made up of transgender members take a holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Followers of the Kinnar Akhara monastic Hindu order made up of transgender members take a holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)
Followers of the Kinnar Akhara monastic Hindu order made up of transgender members take a holy dip in the waters of the River Ganges on the Shahi snan (grand bath) on the occasion of Maha Shivratri festival during the ongoing religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on March 11, 2021. (Photo by Prakash SINGH / AFP) (Photo by PRAKASH SINGH/AFP via Getty Images)

The Mela administration claimed that approximately 17.31 lakh devotees had taken the holy dip in the Ganga till 10 am. Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar said the Shahi Snan was being conducted smoothly throughout the Mela Kshetra from Haridwar to Devprayag.

It was the second Shahi Snan during the ongoing Kumbh Mela which has been limited to just one month due to the rising cases of coronavirus.

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