Sadhus Begin to Depart Kumbha Mela


ALLAHABAD, INDIA, February 20, 2013 (Times of India): Following the third and the last Shahi Snaan on Basant Panchami, saints and seers along with thousands of Naga Sadhus camping in various akharas have started to bid adieu to the second Kumbh of the century, Maha Kumbh 2013.

While the Nagas of Shaiv Akharas, which have been center of attraction for devotees and tourists alike, will head towards the city of salvation-Kashi (Varanasi), the seers of Vaishnav and Udaseen Akharas will disperse and head towards their respective destinations from Prayag (Allahabad). After the shahi snaan, seers of all seven Shaiv Akharas including Mahanirwani, Atal, Niranjani, Anand, Juna, Ahwaan and Agni, following the ancient tradition on such occasions, have started dismantling the akharas. After enjoying a sumptuous treat of kadhi-pakora and loosening the strings that kept the Naga ‘dharm dwajha’ (large, saffron flag) fluttering atop their respective camps, the seers have begun to disperse and head towards Varanasi.

At Kashi, the Seers and Naga Sadhu, of the Shaiv Akharas, will take a dip in the Ganga on the occasion of Maha Shivratri on March 10 and play Holi with colours to celebrate a successful Maha Kumbh before dispersing. The reason for the seers to head to Varanasi for these rituals and not perform them at Allahabad is the inauspicious planetary configuration called Panchak or Dhanista Panchakam. Dhanista, Shatbhishak, Poorvabhadrapada, Uttarbhadrapada and Revati Nakshatras are known as Panchaks and it occurs when the moon’s longitude exists between 296 and 360 degrees. In Southern India, this constellation of five stars is called Dhanistha Panchakam. According to Hindu scriptures, no auspicious events are carried out during this period.

The three Vaishnav Akharas, including Shri Dighambar Ani, Shri Nirwani Ani and Shri Nirmohi Ani,as well as those of the three Akharas of Udaseen sect including Shri Panchayati Bada Udaseen, Shri Panchayati Naya Udaseen and Shri Nirmal Panchayati too have begun preparations for leaving the Maha Kumbh.

For thousands of pilgrims performing Kalpwas on the banks of Sangam the departure is another 10 days away as their month-long camping and a life of austerity will come to an end only with the bathing of Maghi Purnima on February 25. Because of adverse conditions following the recent heavy rains, many of these Kalpwasis too have been leaving the Mela.

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