By Avijit Biswas
Bhagalpur: Taking note, it is almost round the year people undertake pilgrimage to Baidyanathdham (Deoghar) in Jharkhand fetching holy water of river Ganga from Sultanganj in this district the Bihar Heritage Development Society (BHDS) has directed for creation of permanent facilities in pilgrim route.
For paying obeisance to lord Shiva though maximum number of people undertake journey on foot to Biadyanathdham from Sultanganj in month of Shrawan during Shrawani Mela however in recent years it is observed that flow of pilgrims is not restricted to month of Shrawan only.
The BHDS team in course of visit here stressed upon need of creation permanent facilities in pilgrim route particularly those related to water and electricity in course of meeting of the committee held on Tuesday this week.
Led by Prem Kumar, former state government minister, chairman of the society, the BHDS team members discussed measures needed for creation of permanent facilities in pilgrim route.
So far arrangement that are made for convenience of pilgrims in route used by them for their trek to Baidyanathdham from Sultanganj, are mostly temporary in nature with focus on Shrawani Mela.
The BHDS team felt taking into consideration convenience of people, creation of permanent facilities in pilgrim route falling within the state could ensure hassle free pilgrimage also for those who trek to Baidyanathdham in months other than Shrawan.
It may be worth mentioning Shrawani Mela is one of the biggest religious fairs of state. People undertaking pilgrimage during Shrawani Mela has registered substantial increase in recent years.
It is not from state only rather from different parts of country people arrive at Sultanganj for undertaking journey on foot to Baidyanathdham with holy water of Ganga in Kanwars.
As per media reports compared other major fairs of state such as Pitripaksh Mela and Sonepur Mela the turnout of people was more in Shrawani Mela last year. While more than nine lakh people participated in Sonepur Mela the turnout of people was nearly 30 lakh at Pitripaksh Mela last year.
Quoting figures of tourism department, the media reports state slightly more than 77 lakh people had arrived at Sultanganj last year during Shrawani Mela for pilgrimage.
It is felt people who trekked to Baidyanathdham in months other than Shrawan, taken together the cumulative figure of pilgrims who had undertaken pilgrimage last year could touch one crore mark.
At meeting of BHDS team members, the participants in general felt huge turnout of people during Shrawani Mela is an indicator the fair has become a major attraction for religious tourism.
Permanent facilities in route could help better exploit potentials of religious tourism, they felt. In course of meeting of BHDS team members discussion was also held on development and conservation of places of heritage and historical importance in district.
- Writer Avijit Biswas, former principal correspondent of Hindustan Times Bhagalpur bureau, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.orgContact number (mobile): +919431095516