The incessant rains in Behat region of Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district is affecting the pilgrims who have been flocking to the Shakumbhari Devi Temple located in the Shivalik hills. The pilgrimage goes through several rivers before reaching the temple. And the rivers have swelled owing to the continuous rains with hundreds of the pilgrims getting stuck at the Baba Bhuradev temple which is just one kilometre before the Shakumbhari Devi Temple.
Many of the pilgrims decided to move ahead despite the fast flowing rivers in their way. These pilgrims risked their lives by crossing the overflowing rivers to offer prayers at the Shakumbhari Devi Temple. Many of the people, who were crossing the river in groups, were not following Covid-19 guidelines. The pilgrimage included maskless devotees who also flouted social distancing norms.
Fortunately, there have been no injuries or casualties so far, but the temple authorities are urging the devotees to wait until the situation normalises.
Temple administrator Aditya Rana has urged the people to not risk their lives by trying to cross the high stream river, and wait for the water to recede. The local administration has also sounded an alert for the pilgrims, asking them to be cautious.
Meanwhile, the Uttar Pradesh government has cancelled the Kanwar Yatra in view of the pandemic situation. The state government had earlier given nod to the annual pilgrimage with restrictions despite the neighbouring Uttarakhand administration calling off the two-month long festival due to Covid-19. However, the Supreme Court had urged the UP government to review its decision noting that the pilgrimage could prove to be an enabler for a possible surge in cases. The Kanwar Yatra was then called off in Uttar Pradesh too.
The Bihar government has also cancelled the Shravani Mela and Sawan Mahotsav in view of the possible third wave of Covid-19.