Nashik (Maharashtra), July 14 (IANS) The Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha Kumbh Mela was inaugurated by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis in Nashik and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Trimbakeshwar on Tuesday morning.
The inaugural was marked with prayers, hymns, the blowing of ‘shankhanad’ (conch shell), showering of flower petals and the traditional flag hoisting at both venues amidst tight security.
Fadnavis hoisted the flag at the historic Ramkund in Nashik while Singh did the honours in Kushavarat in Trimbakeshwar, both on the banks of the Godavari river, around 45 km apart.
The imposing saffron flag with a gold-painted lion, measuring around 15×4 feet, is mounted on a brass pole near Ramkund. It is visible from afar.
“Kumbh Mela is a symbol of world peace and prosperity… So let us together make this Kumbh Mela a grand success and let it be known as ‘Harit Kumbh’ (Green Kumbh),” Fadnavis said.
He added that he prayed for good rainfall and prosperity for the farmers in the state.
Inaugurating the festival in Trimbakeshwar, Singh said: “My good wishes to all pilgrims coming to participate in the Kumbh Mela.”
Several thousand pilgrims, mendicants and holy men, officials from various departments and tourists will witness the dozennial event, which is held once in 12 years.
The inaugural was followed by thousands marching to the Godavari river for the first holy bath of Kumbh Mela 2015.
The Maharashtra government has spent nearly Rs.2,400 crore for the preparations of the current Kumbh Mela which would attract over one crore pilgrims from India and other parts of the world till September 25
The festivities would, however, continue even after that and in the course of the one year period till August 2016, the Nashik Kumbh Mela is expected to attract over four crore pilgrims.
Nashik sports a festive look with wide roads, flyover inside and outside the city of around two million inhabitants, parking arrangements and elaborate arrangements for the movement of millions of pilgrims.
Several local temple trusts shall serve free meals to over half a million pilgrims daily, irrespective of caste or religion throughout the celebrations.
The theme this year is a “Clean and Green Kumbh”, in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan” initiative.