New Delhi: If all goes well, the Yamuna river may be less polluted this Durga Puja as Puja committees have opted for eco-friendly idols.
Puja committees across Delhi seem to have gone all out to ensure that the idols of goddess Durga are made using eco-friendly materials.
This follows a National Green Tribunal (NGT) order that prohibits immersion of the idols made using non-biodegradable materials — because they further pollute an already polluted Yamuna.
Those organising Durga Pujas here say they are aware of the NGT fiat.
“Our idols have been prepared using natural colours. We are using products which do not cause any harm to the environment,” Shekher Guha, Secretary of Delhi’s C.R. Park Mela Ground Durga Puja Committee in south Delhi, said.
Guha’s team organises one of the biggest — and perhaps most crowded — Durga Pujas in the capital, the main reason being CR Park is dominantly populated by Bengalis.
Puja committees have restrained the idol makers from using chemicals, paints, glitters and plastics which don’t get dissolved in the water body, he said.
The NGT had in September banned immersion of idols made from non-biodegradable material like quick-setting gypsum plaster, also known as Plaster of Paris, or plastic in the Yamuna river.
“Immersion should be allowed only of (idols) made from biodegradable material and not plastic/Plaster of Paris. Only those colours should be used on the idols which are environment- friendly,” the NGT had said.
Guha said the idol markers had embraced the idea of a “pollution-free puja”.
“A few organisers have even prepared small ponds near the ‘pandal’ where they plan to immerse the smaller idols,” Guha said.
Pradip Majumder, vice president of the South Delhi Durga Puja Joint Procession Committee, explained the steps being taken to comply with the NGT order. He said cranes and other machinery would be deployed at the Kalindi Kunj Ghat along the Yamuna to scoop out the idols within minutes of their immersion.
Every year thousands of idols of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartik are immersed into the Yamuna, resulting in further deterioration of its pollution levels.
Delhi, home to a huge Bengali population, organises hundreds of Durga Pujas every year. Majumder couldn’t estimate the total in Delhi but said south Delhi itself has played host to “100 Durga Pujas”.
A senior Delhi government official told that the administration was going all out to ensure the NGT order.
“We are taking adequate measures to see that the pollution level in the Yamuna doesn’t go up because of Durga Puja,” he said.
Yamuna, which Hindus consider a holy river, originates at Yamunotri, in the Himalayan range. Its water quality is generally considered “okay” till it flows through Haryana and reaches Delhi where it flows in the capital’s eastern fringe. This is where all the immersions take place.
When the Yamuna enters Uttar Pradesh, pollution intensifies — making the once lively river, which merges with the Ganges in Allahabad, dirty as well as stinking in most places.
Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred or holy river
As per historic belief, bathing in holy rivers is thought to cleanse a person of all sins
The Kumbh Mela is held once in 12 years
“It is wonderful, the power of a faith like that, that can make multitudes upon multitudes of the old and weak and the young and frail enter without hesitation or complaint upon such incredible journeys and endure the resultant miseries without repining. It is done in love, or it is done in fear; I do not know which it is. No matter what the impulse is, the act born of it is beyond imagination, marvellous to our kind of people, the cold whites.”
These were the words from Mark Twain, after visiting the Kumbh Mela in 1895.
Kumbh Mela or Kumbha Mela is recognized by the UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith in which Hindus gather to bathe in a sacred or holy river. Traditionally, four Melas are widely considered as the Kumbh Melas and are held in Haridwar, Nashik, Allahabad and Ujjain.
These fairs are organized periodically at one of the following places by rotation: Haridwar, Allahabad, Nashik district, and Ujjain. The main festival site is located on the banks of a river: the Ganga at Haridwar. It is the junction where the Ganga, the Yamuna, the invisible Sarasvati at Allahabad, the Godavari at Nashik and the Shipra at Ujjain meets. As per historic belief, bathing in these rivers is thought to cleanse a person of all sins.
Heritage of India
First written evidence of the Kumbha Mela can be found in the accounts of the Chinese traveller, Hiuen Tsang or Xuanzang (602 – 664 A.D.) who visited India in 629 -645 CE, during the reign of King Harshavardhana. Kumbh Mela is a glorious heritage of India.
There are various sadhus or saints visit the Mela. The list includes Nagas, who do not believe in wearing clothes; Urdhwavahurs, who believe in putting the body through severe austerities; Parivrajakas, who have taken a pledge of silence; Shirshasins, who stand 24 hours and meditate for hours standing on their heads; Kalpvasis, who take bath thrice a day.
The Kumbh Mela is held once in 12 years. Between the Kumbh Melas at Haridwar and Nashik, there is a difference of around 3 years, whereas the fairs at Nashik and Ujjain are celebrated in the same year or one year apart.
The belief that originates from mythological times is, during a waging war between the demigods and demons for the possession of elixir of eternal life, a few drops of it had fallen on to four places that are today known as Prayag, Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nasik. the venue for Kumbh Mela is decided depends upon what position the Sun, Moon, and Jupiter hold in that period in different zodiac signs.
Magh Mela – Allahabad 2018 (Mini Kumbh)
The Magh Mela is also known as the Mini Kumbh. The Magh Mela is one of the greatest annual religious fairs for Hindus. Hindu mythology believes it to be the origin of the Magh Mela the beginning of the Universe. As a vital occasion for Hindus, the Magh Mela is held every year on the banks of Triveni Sangam in Prayag near Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.
The Magh Mela is actually the other of Kumbh Mela. Hence, it is also known as mini Kumbh Mela.
Ardh Kumbh Mela- Allahabad 2019
After every six years, Ardh Kumbh Mela is celebrated in the month of January-February when Jupiter is in Aries or Taurus and Sun and Moon are in Capricorn during the Hindu month of Magha. In the year 2019, beginning from 15th January to 04th March; all this will once again be the centre of attraction.
Facts related to Kumbh Mela have been compiled so that one can get a better understanding of this mega event.
During the Kumbh Mela, the gathering of Bhakts by the banks of our sacred Indian rivers and is the greatest celebration in Hindu culture. Millions of pilgrims visit the four holy locations of the Kumbh Mela in order to bathe in the holy rivers and perform significant rituals.
The place of Kumbh Mela changes in every three years between the four pilgrimage sites, which are – Allahabad, Haridwar, Nasik and Ujjain. All these towns have significant temples. The Mela returns to each location every 12 years.
The origin of the Kumbh Mela dates back to the age when Gods used to reside on earth. It is said that the curse of Durvasa Muni had weakened the gods and they began to lose their powers. The Asuras ran amok through the three worlds and there was chaos everywhere.
It is widely believed that those who take holy dips at the sacred locations during Kumbh Mela are eternally blessed by the power of the Gods. The sacred bath provides spiritual and material happiness and moves them towards the path of salvation.
The festival is billed as the “biggest gathering on Earth”; in 2001 more than 40 million gathered on the busiest of its 55 days. The 2001 Kumbh Mela was remarkably conspicuous due to the planetary positions at the time, a pattern that repeats only once every 144 years.67.
The Maha Kumbh Mela 2013, which occurs in 144 years, recorded an estimated pilgrim’s strength of 100 million devotees. The festival was acclaimed as the “biggest gathering on Earth”. The Guinness Book of World Records recognised the event as one of “The Best Managed” events of all times.
An estimated amount of business earnings in Kumbh Mela is 12,000 crore rupees. Employment opportunities created during Kumbh Mela is approximately 65,000.