Trimbakeshawar: The 'Shahi Snan' (Holy Dip) of the Kumbh Mela began at 4.15 am today with the sadhus of the Shree Panch Dashnami Juna Akhada, Varanasi taking a dip in the waters of the Kushavart kund (pond) in the pilgrim town of Trimbakeshwar.
The sadhus had come to the kund in processions with their juniors dancing around them. Some of them had come on horses and chariots. There was a festive occasion in the area with children bursting crackers.
Villagers and tourists had lined up the road to watch the processions that passed.
''Hamare beech koi ayega to dekho, some sadhus were seen shouting.
Many women had drawn rangolis on the road to welcome the sadhus and sprinkled the road with flower petals. ''Kumbh comes once in 12 years in our town. It feels nice to welcome these religious men, said Shalaka Shinde, a resident of Trimbakeshwar.
The kumbh was flagged off on July 30 at Nashik and Trimbakeshwar.
The Vaishnavites have a bath in Nashik, while the Shaivaites at Trimbakeshawar.
Exactly at 4.10 am, the district collector, Mahesh Zagde and the Nashik divisional commissioner, V Mathankar welcomed Swami Parmanand Saraswati, chairman of Akahada Parishad. He was the first one to take the bath in the 'Shahi Snan'.
Said Zagde, ''Till the last Kumbh Mela, the sadhus of the Dashnami Juna Akhada and Niranjani Akhada accompanied each other for the holy dip. There used to be clashes between them on a regular basis. This time, we had a meeting of all sadhus in which they agreed that the Dashnami Juna Akhada would have a bath first and then the sadhus of the Niranjani Akhada.''
However, on August 27 (when there is next Shahi Snan), the Sadhus of the Niranjani Akhada would lead.
The police and the home guards posted here had tough time controlling the sadhus who had lined up for the dip. Said Khanderao Shinde, Inspector General of Police Nashik range, ''We are expecting over 15000 sadhus to take a dip on Tuesday. The kund is reserved for the sadhus till 12 noon and will be then opened for the general public.
Soon after the dip, the sadhus went to the temples in Trimbakeshwar. ''It feels nice to have a bath here. The sins get washed, said Sadhu Swaroopanand Puri of Surat.