A month-long mega Simhastha-2016 concluded with a record footfall on the third shahi snan in the Kshipra on Saturday amid rising temperature.
About 80 lakh devotees took the holy dip at 20-odd ghats along the river. Sadhus also turned for the royal bath at Ramghat and Dutt ghats in the wee hours of Saturday. Roads adjoining the river were jam- packed as the devotees wished to have a glimpse of naga sadhus marching for the concluding appearance. Chief minister Shivraj Singh chouhan, chief secretary Antony Desa, minister Narottam Mishra, BJP leader Kailash Vijayvergiya also took a holy dip on the last day.
Meanwhile, four pilgrims died of heat stroke during the past 48 hours. Chief medical and health officer NK Trivedi said that four out of 97 heat stroke patients admitted to various district hospitals since May 19 died during treatment.
Prime minister Narendra Modi might have said that Simhastha reporting was restricted to the naga sadhus only but the people enthusiastically vied with each other to have darshans of the nagas, click their pictures and seek their blessings. The inflow of pilgrims continued throughout the night from Indore and the adjoining areas—some even came by motorbikes. Vehicles were allowed into the city till the parking lots were packed to their capacities and stopped thereafter.
Many pilgrims had to walk 8 to10 kilometres after alighting at nanakhera bus stand and walking towards the bathing areas. “I have waited for a local conveyance for 30 minutes. Finally, I had to walk to the ghat with my parents to have a bath,” said Rajshekhar Chouhan from Shajapur.
Shortage of city transport gave an opportunity to city youths providing motorbike service for pilgrims to cash in on the situation– they charged as much as Rs 400 to drop two persons near the ghat area. Water huts (huts dispensing water) ran out of water on the last day which left many pilgrims continue their holy journey without water at several spots.