Solar eclipse brings Maha Kumbh to a standstill

HARIDWAR: The otherwise bustling Maha Kumbh Mela here has come almost to a complete standstill today due to the solar eclipse with doors of temples shut and many devouts taking to meditation to ward off what they believe to be an inauspicious period.

The ghats, which witnessed several thousands of people taking a holy dip on the occasion of ‘Makar Sankranti’ yesterday, are now playing host to people performing ‘havans’ or those meditating.

The enchanting spell of vedic hymns, bells and conch shells, which reverberated throughout the day on Thursday, when the Maha Kumbh began, can no longer be heard. The only sound that seems to echo at the main bathing ghat here ‘Hari Ki Pauri’ is the nail biting cold water of Ganga flowing strong and hitting against the stone steps.

The green coloured iron railing and chains with ‘OM’ signage above them, which provided the support to the devotees yesterday from being washed away from by the strong current, continues to rattle as they fight the mighty river.

Sporadically, one can also hear announcements on the public address system telling people about the solar eclipse. The solar eclipse period as per Acharya Ganadish, started here at 11:58 AM and will continue till 3:12 PM.

The doors of all the temples here have been closed with no prayers being recited.

The statues of gods and goddess’ are also covered up during this period. Acharya said once the ‘grahan’ is over, the statues would be washed with water from the holy river.

He said the eclipse created a lot of negative vibes which would be washed off once people wash themselves with Ganga water.

Administration officials said that once the eclipse ends, the ghats would be open again for the ‘Mauni Amavasya’ when thousands will gather again to take the holy ‘snan’ (bath).

People including women and children have already started lining up waiting for the ghats to be opened up.

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