Assam: Five-day Ambubachi mela begins today


GUWAHATI, June 22, 2018: The five-day Ambubachi mela was inaugurated by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday evening and will be held starting today and will conclude on June 26 at Kamakhya temple, located on top of Nilachal hill here.

The Kamrup (metro) district administration has set up five camps for one lakh devotees, with the biggest one inside the old central jail complex at Fancy Bazar.

"The administration and the state government are doing their best but it is not adequate. Last year, around 25 lakh people attended the mela. We are expecting more people this time. With inadequate arrangements, what will happen to the lakhs of devotees who arrive here?" a member of the association involved in running of the mela, asked.

Sources also alleged that the number of camps set up along the road connecting the temple with the main road was not enough.

"We had requested setting up of rest camps every 100 metres as, during the mela, most of the devotees walk from the bottom of the hill to the temple, a distance of 3.2km, and it often rains too. Eight rest camps have been set up this time, which is not enough," a source said.

However, Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Virendra Mittal said, "Many devotees, who come during the mela, do not stay more then a day or two. Again, footfall increases as most people visit the temple repeatedly during mela days. This time, we have set up a huge camp on old central jail premises as most of the area there is vacant. As for roadside camps, we considered many things before setting them up. For one, as the area is hilly, we have to keep adequate place for utility vehicles to ply in case of a disaster."

Inaugurating the mela in the presence of religious leaders from across the country, Sonowal urged the people of the state to make it one of the most attractive religious congregations of the world.

"Ambubachi mela reflects India's spiritual, cultural and social values. Indian traditions have universal appeal and have contributed towards nurturing human values over the ages," he said.

TNT with The Telegraph inputs

Image Courtesy: The Telegraph