Lakhs take holy dip as 'Maha Kumbh' begins
However, in a discordant note to the congregation the Shankaracharya of Dwarka Peeth and Jyotirpeeth Badrikashram Swami Swaroopanand decided to keep away from the congregation despite it being held in an area under his jurisdiction. "Swami Swaroopanandji had demanded the setting up of a 'Chatushpath' for the Shankaracharyas of the four Peeths set up by Adi Sankara in order to distinguish them from self- styled ones mushrooming all over the country, but the administration declined the request saying it amounted to creating a new tradition," said the pontiff's close aide Swami Avimukteswarananda, who is camping at the Mela.
Over 8O lakh pilgrims had taken the holy dip in the Sangam by evening, Divisional Commissioner of Allahabad Devesh Chauturvedi said, adding "streams of people were still pouring in the area and the bathing is likely to continue till late in the night".
No untoward incident was reported from anywhere so far, according to authorities which have made massive security arrangement over the huge township of tents and ornately decorated marquees and "pandals" that has sprung up in 6,000 acres.
Significantly, the sprawling Mela ground has been notified as a temporary district in keeping with the complex administrative machinery involved in conducting the Maha Kumbh.
Over 10,000 security personnel have been deployed. Besides guarding different routes, they kept watch from 56 watch towers and 89 CCTV cameras. Anti-Terrorism Squads, Bomb Disposal Squads and Mine Detecting Units
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