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Last updated: September 17, 2003

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Pitripaksha Mela overshadowed by Maha Kumbha Mela
Gaya, 15 September (Dainik Jagran). Five days have passed in the Pitripaksha Mela happening in the Northern Indian cultural centre of Gaya. The speed of pilgrims arriving in those five days has been fairly slow. It is believed that the reason for this is the Maha Kumbha Mela which is reaching its completion in Nasik in Maharashtra. The Gayapala Priestly community believes that this is the reason for the lack of pilgrims.
In the five days about one hundred and fifty thousand pilgrims have arrived. These pilgrims make tarpana and pinda offerings at the 45 living pinda altars of Gaya. According to tradition offerings are made at all 45 pinda altars. But some pilgrims are making offerings only at Vishnupad Temple, the Phalgu river and the Akshayavat tree and then going back. Whilst some pilgrims are staying for the full 17 days and making offerings at all the pinda altars.
In these five days pilgrims have come from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Panjab, Jammu Kashmir, Gujarat and Maharashtra. But the number of pilgrims from Gujarat and Maharashtra is said to be low. The Vishnupad temple management committee head, and assistant priest for Gujarati pilgrims Baccu Lal Bithal said that due to the Mahakumbha in Nasik there were less pilgrims coming to Gaya. The priest of Pital Kevar Mahesh Lal Gupta believes that due to economic conditions pilgrims are bathing only at Nasik and the cost of going on one pilgrimage directly after another is too much is a bit costly. Due to this there are less pilgrims.
According to the Sanvas Sadan semi-NGO organisation which looks after the Pitripaksha Mela the figures for arrivals are about five hundred buses in five days. The committee says that these figures are not a good sign. But some people believe after the completion of pacak on Monday pilgrims will start coming.
Locals are not happy with the arrangements made by the local administration. Citizens believe that the guests of Gaya have to face a number of difficulties. Due to water collecting on the roads it becomes difficult to get around after it rains. Nor yet are lime and bleaching powder scattered around everyday. Due to which the roads smell of urine and faeces.

[Monday, September 15, 2003 11:13:15 PM]

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Texts and Translations © Peter G. Friedlander unless otherwise indicated.