Nashik: Sadhus and pilgrims in their thousands are pouring in the city as the Simhastha Kumbh Mela, one of the largest religious congregations on the Earth, is set to start today.
The mega event, where lakhs of pilgrims would take dip in the river Godavari, would start with a flag-hoisting ceremony organised by Nashik Ganga Godavari Panchkothi Purohit Sangh and Trimbakeshwar Purohit Sangh at 6.16 am at Ramkunda in Nashik city and at Kushvarta Teerth in neighbouring temple town of Trimbakeshwar, respectively.
Nashik-Trimbakeshwar host Kumbh Mela when the Sun and Jupiter come together in Leo ('Simha') zodiac sign in the month of Magha as per the Hindu calendar after every 12 years, said Satish Shukla, President of Nashik and Trimbakeshwar Purohit Sangh, and Jayant Shikhare, president of Trimbakeshwar Purohit Sangh.
Ahead of the Kumbh Mela, grand 'shobha yatras' (processions) were taken out in both Nashik and Trimbakeshwar this evening, in which mahants and sadhus of various 'akhadas' participated.
The flags of the event would be hoisted today morning in the presence of Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadanvis and Union Minister Shripad Naik in Nashik. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is the chief guest for flag-hoisting in Trimbakeshwar.
The civic body has set up 'Sadhu-Gram' over 315 acres in Nashik where tents have been put up for sadhus. The temporary tent-town has been supplied with toilets, 24-hour drinking water, LPG cylinders and electricity.
The high-point of the gathering, 'Shahi Snan' (royal bath) has been scheduled for 'Parvani' days of August 29, September 13 and September 18 in Nashik. In Trimbakeshwar, the royal procession and bath would take place on August 29, September 13 and September 25.