Devout Hindus celebrate Basant Panchmi in Allahabad
Thousands of devout Hindus took a holy bath and dip in the sacred waters of 'Sangam', the confluence of River Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, on Tuesday in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, on the occasion of Basant Panchmi, a festival that marks the onset of spring.
The festival glorifies Hindu Goddess Saraswati, patron of knowledge, music and the arts.
The devotees offered prayers and performed religious rituals on the banks of the river early on Tuesday.
Security has also been tightened in and around the city, as police personnel have been deployed in large numbers keeping in mind huge rush of devotees.
Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Umesh Kumar said his team was determined to make the festival a successful one.
"Crowd of devotees are coming to take holy dip on the occasion Basant Panchmi. Till now, around 2 lakh devotees have taken holy bathe. We are determined to make the holy dip successful with the help of police personnel," said Kumar.
Locals queued up before priests who had erected makeshift altars on the riverbanks to perform the rituals and offer prayers.
A devotee, Aman said that he came to seek the blessings of Goddess Saraswati.
"I have come here to take holy dip on the occasion of Hindu festival, Basant Panchmi. We will also pray before Hindu Goddess, Saraswati as we hope that we will be blessed with knowledge and wisdom," said Aman.
'Saraswati Puja' is a festive day for students of all disciplines, special worship ceremonies to honour the goddess 'Saraswati' are put together at various places in India.
Saraswati Puja is observed on the fifth day after the no moon night in the Hindu month of Magh (early in February).
It is believed that of Goddess Saraswati was born on this day. Saraswati has been identified with the Vedic Saraswati River.
The festival concurs with 'Vasant Panchami', which is also named as 'Shree Panchami'. Women dress in yellow, which is the colour of spring, and prepare a variety of sweets flavoured with saffron.
(Posted on 04-02-2014)