Uttarakhand, April 12:

Thousands of devotees gathered in Haridwar to take part in Kumbh Mela’s Shahi Snan ritual amid the resurgence of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the country. The royal holy baths will take place on Monday and Wednesday.

 The event comes in the backdrop of the state recording its highest single-day spike this year on Sunday with 1,333 cases. To ensure that the infection is not spread among devotees, authorities responsible for organising the Kumbh Mela said they would emphasise on the strict adherence to the Covid-19 protocol.

The Uttarakhand high court has mandated everyone to carry their RT-PCR negative test report and a medical certificate on the lines of Amarnath Yatra and Kailash Yatra and officials said they will make sure the court order is implemented.

Kumbh Mela officer-in-charge Deepak Rawat also directed the Haridwar administration officials to ensure that Covid-appropriate behaviour is followed.

“As far as facilities are concerned for the pilgrims they are at par with any other fair. Owing to Covid-19 pandemic, strict implementation of Covid-19 norms is being ensured for the Kumbh. RT-PCR negative report is mandatory for all outside people entering the Kumbh Mela zone and strict checking is being done at border check post,” Rawat said.

The month-long event, which is expected to be attended by 30-50 million people, has also mandated all devotees to wear masks, maintain social distance and frequently sanitize hands in the Kumbh Kshetra.

According to the state police, “adequate arrangements” have been made for the Shahi Snan.

“Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday will witness three major Snans in the Mahakumbh including two Shahi Snans on Monday and Wednesday respectively. Tuesday will have one significant Snan day to mark the occasion of Navsampat. However, of all the three, the biggest one would be on Wednesday on the occasion of Baisakhi when all 13 akhadas will take the holy dip in Ganga,” Inspector general, Mahakumbh, Sanjay Gunjyal, said.