Huge crowds at India’s Kumbh festival as coronavirus pandemic surges

As India counted another record rise in coronavirus cases on Monday, hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims joined a river-bathing ritual during the Kumbh festival in the hill town of Haridwar.

There were fears that the month-long festival could turn into a super spreader event.

The positivity rate of random tests is rising at the festival and as many as 300 cases have been detected in Haridwar over the past week, festival health officer Arjun Singh Sengar told dpa.

The pilgrims led by ash-smeared ascetics and gurus from across India thronged the bathing ghats of Haridwar on an auspicious “shahi snan” (main bathing) day of the Kumbh festival, billed as the largest religious gathering on Earth.

By evening Monday, more than 2 million people had taken a dip in the river, an official at the police control room said.

According to Hindu mythology, as gods and demons fought over a pitcher (kumbh) of amrita (nectar of immortality), a few drops spilled at four places: Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik, where the festival is staged at designated intervals with a full version once every 12 years.

Officials in Haridwar said the numbers are much lower than usual due to Covid-19 restrictions but were huge nonetheless.

Standard operating procedures were in place: People were being checked at borders for Covid-negative test certificates.

Pilgrims at the bathing ghats – which are steps leading to the river – were being regulated and repeatedly asked to wear masks and practise social distancing.

Television images on Monday, one of the two major bathing dates this week, showed tens of thousands of people – a majority of them not wearing masks – crowding against each other as they made their way into the river.

Police were struggling to get them to maintain Covid-19 protocols. “We are trying to thin the crowds, but we do not wish to cause a stampede,” local police official SK Gunjiyal was quoted as saying by NDTV news channel.

“To organize Kumbh is a challenge, but holding it in times of Covid-19 is still a bigger challenge owing to ensuring Covid-appropriate behaviour,” Sengar said.

While many pilgrims are fastidiously following rules, others are blinded by faith.

“When you are by the side of Mother Ganges, what fear can you possibly have? She is our mother. Why should we be scared?” a pilgrim told one of the news channels.

“No one is afraid of Covid here, there’s no such thing as Covid, it’s all a drama,” another one told NDTV news channel.

“I did my RT-PCR test as required 72 hours before coming here,” said another pilgrim. “Many people are taking off their masks while bathing, what can you do? How can you stop them?”

Police said given the large numbers it was not possible to fine people for not wearing masks.

India is currently seeing a fast-spreading second wave of the pandemic with some states putting in place partial lockdowns while others like West Bengal and Uttarakhand grapple with large crowds at election rallies and the Kumbh festival.

Since the beginning of April, India has reported more than 1 million new cases taking its total caseload to 13.5 million, second to only the United States.

No comments

Thank you for reaching out to us. We are happy to receive your opinion and request. If you need advert or sponsored post, We’re excited you’re considering advertising or sponsoring a post on our blog. Your support is what keeps us going. With the current trend, it’s very obvious content marketing is the way to go. Banner advertising and trying to get customers through Google Adwords may get you customers but it has been proven beyond doubt that Content Marketing has more lasting benefits.
We offer majorly two types of advertising:
1. Sponsored Posts: If you are really interested in publishing a sponsored post or a press release, video content, advertorial or any other kind of sponsored post, then you are at the right place.
Generally, a sponsored post can be any of the following:
Press release
Video content
This kind of post is usually written to promote you or your business. However, we do prefer posts that naturally flow with the site’s general content. This means we can also promote artists, songs, cosmetic products and things that you love of all products or services.
Every sponsored article will remain live on the site as long as this website exists. The duration is indefinite! Again, we will share your post on our social media channels and our email subscribers too will get to read your article. You’re exposing your article to our: Twitter followers, Facebook fans and other social networks.

We will also try as much as possible to optimize your post for search engines as well.

Submission of Materials : Sponsored post should be well written in English language and all materials must be delivered via electronic medium. All sponsored posts must be delivered via electronic version, either on disk or e-mail on Microsoft Word unless otherwise noted.
The price largely depends on if you’re writing the content or we’re to do that. But if your are writing the content, it is $60 per article.

2. Banner Advertising: We also offer banner advertising in various sizes and of course, our prices are flexible. you may choose to for the weekly rate or simply buy your desired number of impressions.

Technical Details And Pricing
Banner Size 300 X 250 pixels : Appears on the home page and below all pages on the site.
Banner Size 728 X 90 pixels: Appears on the top right Corner of the homepage and all pages on the site.
Large rectangle Banner Size (336x280) : Appears on the home page and below all pages on the site.
Small square (200x200) : Appears on the right side of the home page and all pages on the site.
Half page (300x600) : Appears on the right side of the home page and all pages on the site.
Portrait (300x1050) : Appears on the right side of the home page and all pages on the site.
Billboard (970x250) : Appears on the home page.

Submission of Materials : Banner ads can be in jpeg, jpg and gif format. All materials must be deliverd via electronic medium. All ads must be delivered via electronic version, either on disk or e-mail in the ordered pixel dimensions unless otherwise noted.
For advertising offers, send an email with your name,company, website, country and advert or sponsored post you want to appear on our website to omodjk(at)gmail(dot)com

Normally, we should respond within 48 hours.