LUCKNOW, INDIA, February 17, 2013 (India Today): Despite a flood-like situation and nearly half submerged tents in Maha Kumbh, a large number of kalpvasis have refused to shift from there to over 26 schools vacated for them in Allahabad city.
The rain on Saturday night played havoc, leaving over 100,000 resident pilgrims high and dry as at least 20,000 tents sunk in an incessant downpour and cyclonic winds. The rainfall in Allahabad broke all records with 60 mm (2.4 inches) downpour in the last 24 hours.
At least 15 sadhus and 20 kalpvasis have also sustained injuries and been admitted to several hospitals in Mela and the city. Interestingly, while the sadhus started leaving the Mela area on Saturday morning and the security forces shifted to the vacated schools, a large number of kalpvasis stayed back.
The month-long kalpvas (staying near Sangam to perform round the clock rituals) which had started on January 25 would conclude on February 25. The kalpvasis during this period cook their food on their own and take it once a day. They also take a holy dip two or three times a day and continuously worship all the Hindu gods.
The impact of heavy rainfall and strong winds was so intense that all 18 magnificent gates which were erected to welcome the pilgrims collapsed. A large number of electric poles also fell on the ground resulting in complete blackout. AK Mittal, designated nodal officer of UP Power Corporation said the department was working on a war footing to restore electricity supply in the camps.
Ramawati Devi, a kalpvasi of Madhya Pradesh's Satna said, "We have completed our 22 days of kalpvas. So leaving holy Sangam area eight days before wouldn't be a wise decision. It is God's place where we are staying and taking holy bath every day. How will we come here from the schools 10 to 20 kms from here?"