Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi on July 13 inaugurated the famous Shravani Mela (fair) of Sultanganj in Bhagalpur district.
Lakhs of ‘kanwariyas’ or devotes of Lord Shiva collect the holy water of the Ganga from here during the Hindu calendar month of ‘Sawan’ and trek 96 kilometres through three districts of Bihar – Bhagalpur, Munger and Banka – to pour it on the ‘Shivlinga’ at Baidyanath Dham in Deoghar town of Jharkhand.
Speaking on the occasion, Manjhi said proper security arrangements have been put in place and sand has been laid all along the way so that the barefoot pilgrims do not face difficulty in walking. The Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has made ample arrangements for drinking water and toilet facilities along the way for the devotees.
“Special purified drinking water facilities have been put up at 20 places on the route. This has been done because last year the pilgrims had to buy mineral water bottles worth Rs 3 crore,” the Chief Minister said.
Manjhi also said 70 new water hand-pumps have been installed while the old ones already in use have been repaired. A mobile unit under a magistrate has been placed along the route so that they can rush to repair any hand-pump that turns faulty.
The Chief Minister, who himself is a Shiva devotee, also assured that the state government has already disbursed funds to the three districts and will make available more money if any such need arises to make necessary arrangements for the pilgrims.
Around 50 lakh saffron-clad devotees from different parts of India, Nepal and other countries participate in the month-long pilgrimage.
The pilgrims walk or run carrying the water from the Ganga through the entire 105 kilometre stretch between Sultanganj in Bhagalpur district to Baidyanath Dham Temple in Deoghar town. While 96 kilometres of the route falls in Bihar, the rest comes under Jharkhand.
Courtesy: IBN Live