Rivers are revered and considered holy since times immemorial in India and mass bathing in some rivers is an age-old ritual. A holy dip and a holy sip of the river waters are considered to be a highly purifying. But is the dip really cleansing at all when almost all the rivers in India are known to be highly polluted?
Despite all the hype around Swachh Bharat Mission, the situation on the ground remains dismal. The city of Ujjain is located on the western part of Madhya Pradesh on the Malwa Plateau and is primarily a religious tourism centre due to the Mahakal temple.
Ramesh Mali, a farmer in his late thirties, looks at his farmland nervously. It has been 13 days since the Simhastha Maha Kumbh festival, 2016, concluded. The district administration had acquired his four bigha land (approximately 0.64 hectares) for the festival. The barricades and the concrete left on his land give us the idea that the land is not fit for farming this season.
The Madhya Simhastha Maha Kumbh festival, the religious extravaganza that happens once in every 12 years, was held in Ujjain from April 22-May 21, 2016.
The Ujjain Simhastha (Kumbh Mela) in Madhya Pradesh will begin on April 22, 2016 and go on for a month. The event, held once every 12 years, holds religious significance to Hindus, and throngs of people--approximately 5 crore over the month--take a holy dip in the Kshipra river during this time.
The Ujjain Simhastha Kumbh Mahaparva is one of the four Kumbha Melas, which is held once in 12 years.
The Kshipra is considered a sacred river in Madhya Pradesh's Malwa region. In the last few decades, this perennial river has also lost its glory like many other rivers in India.