A mela for the agesThe month-long Godavari Singhastha Mela, came to a close last Thursday. The festival—one of the most celebrated religious fairs in the country
The month-long Godavari Singhastha Mela, came to a close last Thursday. The festival—one of the most celebrated religious fairs in the country—was attended by more than four million pilgrims from Nepal and India. The mela, held once every 12 years, celebrates the legend of Gautam Rishi, who once communed with the Goddess Ganga in a dream during a time of crisis. The next day, according to the legend, the waters of the River Ganga started spouting in Godavari. The festival, say religious experts, dates back more than a thousand years.
Over the years, the festival has also taken on the look of a bustling market fair.
The latest edition of the fair saw more than 200 eatery stalls and shops selling everything from handicraft items and vegetables to religious paraphernalia.
The activities centred around the famous water spouts at the Godavari Kunda, with pilgrims thronging around the pond formed from their water to take a holy dip.
According to the organisers of the festival, as many as 500,000 pilgrims visited the site daily. To help manage the crowds, 150 police personnel were deployed to the holy site, and the organisers had also installed CCTV cameras at various locations, to get live feeds of the crowd’s activities.
Text & Photos: Sanjog Manandhar