Over 18 lakh pilgrims took a holy dip in the Ganga on the occasion of Shivratri and fifth festive bath of Ardh Kumbh here today.
Pilgrims in large numbers thronged the sanctum-sanctorum of Braham Kund, Har-ki-Pauri and adjacent Ganga ghats from early morning hours. Ardh Kumbh Mela officer in charge SA Murugesan said 18 lakh devotees took the sacred holy dip in Haridwar, Rishikesh, Swargashram, Muni-ki-Reti and Dev Prayag on the occasion of Shivratri.
Elaborate security arrangements were put in place for the fair. Inspector General Ganesh Singh Martolia, Senior Superintendent of Police (Ardh Kumbh) Jagat Ram Joshi, SP Traffic Shweta Chaubey, ASP (Ardh Kumbh) Manikant Mishra, ASP Jagdeesh Chandra and City Police Superintendent Navneet Singh Bhullar monitored the proceedings throughout the day.
Live footages from 100 set-ups were monitored at the CCTV cell at Mela Bhawan near Har-ki-Pauri.
ASP Anil Raturi took stock of security arrangements and gave necessary directives to mela officials.
An anti-terrorist squad along with bomb disposal squad, sniffer squad, cavalry squad and para-military forces units of the ITBP, SSB, BSF and PAC were present on the occasion to avoid any untoward incident.
SP (Traffic) Shweta Chaubey said the traffic police had to use reserved parking lots after the main parking lots of Rishikul, Bairagi, Daksheswar Mahadev, Hari Ram Inter College, Pawan Dham, Dhobighat, Dudhivan and Neel Dhara Gauri Shankar got jam-packed due to huge rush of devotees.