Thousands of devotees took a holy dip in Yamuna river in Mathura, Vrindavan, and Bateshwar in Agra on Sunday to celebrate Ganga Dussehra. The day commemorates the advent of the Ganges, the holiest of rivers for the millions of Hindus, to earth from the heavens above. The day is celebrated with a ritual bath in the river, and offerings of water melons and ‘kakdi’. In Mathura and Vrindavan, temples held special ‘darshans’ of the presiding deity amid a riot of white flowers and fragrance.
“However, many pilgrims visiting the Yamuna are put off by the stinking water, but those who do take a dip return with sense of both fear and guilt,” said Jagan Nath Poddar of Vrindavan. The Irrigation Department ensures release of 1,000 cusecs of extra water for Ganga Dussehra, but it was not done this year, leading to resentment among saints of Braj area, he added.