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Shravani Mela Officially Inaugurated at Sidhi Ghat in Sultanganj

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 By Avijit Biswas

Bhagalpur: The famous Shravani mela officially started today. At a function held at Sidhi Ghat in Sultanganj this evening the mela was formally inaugurated by chief guests on the occasion Alok Kumar Mehta, minister for revenue and land reforms and Kumar Sarvajeet, agriculture minister, in state government.

Lighting of traditional lamp amidst chanting of mantras marked inauguration of the mela. Number of dignitaries including people’s representatives were among those present on the occasion.

Since Shrawan dedicated to Lord Shiva would be observed for two months this year because of Malamas, the arrangements for Shravani mela have been made taking into consideration extended mela period this time.

During Shravani mela every year large number of pilgrims cover distance of approximately 104 kilometers on foot up to Baidyanathdham temple at Deoghar in Jharkhand for paying obeisance to Lord Shiva collecting holy water of Ganga at Sultanganj in this district.

After fetching holy water from Ganga, the pilgrims generally perform puja at Ajgaibinath temple at Sultanganj before beginning their trek to Baidyanathdham.

With two-month mela period this year, total turnout of pilgrims is likely to be more compared to previous years. Moreover, pandemic threat has reduced substantially, the daily footfall of pilgrims it is anticipated is likely to be more during Shravani mela this year.

The weather conditions have become congenial in this region following start of rainfall, quite large number of pilgrims arrived at Sultanganj on first day of Shravan today for beginning their pilgrimage.

To ensure hassle free pilgrimage arrangements taking into convenience of pilgrims have been made by state government at Sultanganj and in stretch of the pilgrim route falling within the state. A major portion of pilgrim route it may be mentioned passes through Banka and Munger districts beside this district of state.

For accurate calculation of number of pilgrims who would proceed to Deoghar from Sultanganj everyday a sophisticated person counting machine has been installed near mega camp set up for pilgrims at Dhande-Belari in Sultanganj.

Taking note accurate calculation of number of pilgrims leaving Sultanganj daily for Deoghar is essential for managing crowd of pilgrims at Baidyanath Dham temple and pilgrim route, decision for installation sophisticated person counting machine was taken.

As per information last year also person counting machine had been installed near mega camp at Dhande-Belari for pilgrim count. However, the machine failed to provide accurate data. Due to inaccurate assessment of daily number of pilgrims leaving for Deoghar from Sultanganj on certain occasions, Deoghar administration had to face problem in crowd management.

If sources are to be believed Jharkhand government authorities had brought the matter to notice of state government authorities. Installation of sophisticated person counting machine was planned this year taking note of the problem.

This year state government has decided to ensure Shravani mela remains polythene free. Use of polythene would remain restricted in Sultanganj and pilgrim route.

Though rainfall has started in this region however water level of Ganga has not registered any substantial increase yet which is cause of inconvenience for pilgrims. For pilgrims it becomes easy fetching water from Ganga when because of increased water level, river is close to concrete ghats at Sultanganj.

Meanwhile to clear extra rush of passenger during Shravani Mela the railways have decided to run special trains between Bhagalpur and Patna besides Jasidih and Mokama. Additional stoppage of number of mail and express trains have been also provided at Sultanganj for Shrawani Mela.

As per railway press release 03266 Patna -Bhagalpur Mela special will leave Patna daily at 6.40 hrs from July 6 to August 31 to reach Bhagalpur at 14.00 hrs on the same day.

The 03265 Bhagalpur- Patna Shravani Mela Special will leave Bhagalpur daily at 15.15 hrs from July 6 to August 31 to reach Patna at 20.35 hrs on the same day. The train will have stoppages at Sultanganj, Jamalpur and Abhaypur stations in eastern railway jurisdiction. Apart from general second class and sleeper class coach the train will have air-conditioned accommodation.

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Writer Avijit Biswas, former principal correspondent of Hindustan Times Bhagalpur bureau, can be contacted at biswasavijit@yahoo.com

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