The otherwise calm and quiet city is abuzz with activities as lakhs of devotees, sadhus and tourists have converged here for the Kumbh mela beginning Thursday.

Over 25 lakh people are expected to take a ‘snan’ (bath) in the Ganga on Thursday on the occasion of Makar Sankranti – known as Uttarayan in other parts of the country — the day the sun begins to move northwards marking the decline of winter. Eight lakh people have already reached the city, officials said.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said all steps have been taken to ensure the fair is without any untoward incidents. “Heavy security has been put in place for smooth conduct of the Mahakumbh,” Mr. Nishank told PTI.

“All arrangements have been made. Security forces have been deployed at 130 sq km area to ensure that no untoward incident occurs,” Kumbh mela in-charge Anand Vardhan said.

From fresh tarred and pothole-free roads to banners welcoming the devotees, the city sports a clean and tidy look ahead of the Kumbh, considered one of the largest religious gatherings in the world. Also illegal constructions along roads and the overflowing sewage have been done away with. The State government has pressed in the entire administration for smooth functioning of the Kumbh and has set up extensive camps to facilitate lodging of devotees.

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