Ganga melas cancelled in UP due to pandemic

Lucknow :  The ‘Ganga Snan Mela’ and the ‘Deepdaan’ festival at Garhmukteshwar in Hapur district and at Hastinapur in Meerut district have been cancelled this year due to the pandemic. The fair was scheduled to start in Garhmukteshwar on Wednesday and in Hastinapur on Friday. According to official sources, the state government decided to cancel the Ganga Snan Mela in Garhmukteshwar after examining a joint report of the district magistrate and the superintendent of police.

Additional Superintendent of Police, Hapur, Sarvesh Mishra said, “A ban on the arrival of devotees has been imposed between November 25 and 30 at the mela venue on the bank of the Ganga in compliance with the order.” He added that Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code had been imposed in the area. Thousands of devotees from the nearby districts of western Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan arrive on the bank of the Ganga in Garhmukteshwar for ritual bathing in the river on the occasion of the Kartik Purnima and offer Deepdaan for the salvation of their ancestors.

Earthen lamps are lit and floated down the river. The Meerut Zila Panchayat organizes a similar mela on the bank of the Ganga at Makhdoompur in Hastinapur area every year. Here, too, thousands of devotees gather to bathe in the Ganga. Zila Panchayat chairman Kulwinder Singh said that the mela had been cancelled in Hastinapur this year due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the annual month-long Kartik Mela that begins on Kartik Purnima every year in Lucknow is also likely to be cancelled in view of the pandemic. Kartik Purnima, this year falls on November 30 and coincides with the last lunar eclipse of the year. Though there is no official word on the cancellation yet, sources said that the fair which attracts thousands of visitors every day would prove ‘hazardous’ in the pandemic. “Lucknow is already recording an upsurge in Covid cases and we cannot allow any major gathering in such a situation,” said a senior district official.

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