'Maha aarti' a big draw at Beas river in Himachal Pradesh's Kullu
Shimla/Kullu: Beas 'Maha aarti' – an event aimed to create environmental awareness, and revive the spirit of community participation in maintaining purity and cleanliness of the rivers, making its beginning at Beas, was held at Kullu on Tuesday
The first of its kind initiative of Kullu district administration proved to be a big draw as 121 local priest (pandits), specially invited to perform the Vedic rituals and ceremonies, played perfect host to the 'maha-aarti', drawing participation from the locals, tourists, senior citizens, Mahila mandals, NGOs, Dev-Samaj – an organisation propagating deity-culture, and panchayats.
Hundreds of tourists, who had thronged Kullu-Manali for New year celebrations witnessed the event marking by recitations of Sanskrit slokas and devotional songs.
Forest and transport minister Govind Singh Thakur, who is also MLA from Manali, was joined by former BJP MP Maheshwar Singh, who is also a scion of erstwhile Kullu royalty performed the ceremony as Deputy Commission Kullu Yunus managed to make it a grand show.
"More than 6,000 diyas ( earthen lamps), made out of wheat flour and leave-plates were used during the maha-aarti held close to the Nature Park, Kullu. It was really an impressive show, both visually and religiously after the sunset" said Yunus.
The whole purpose was to spread environmental awareness among the people about rivers facing threat to their survival because of climatic changes and also pollution, apart from factors like urbanisation and human activities.
Deputy Commissioner says, "A decision has been taken to make this event an annual feature and also promote such actions, which helps in the safety of the rivers, it's banks and maintain the purity of the Beas water from pollution and neglect." Vishwa Nath, one of the priests at the event, claimed that the religious scriptures in Kullu are a piece of evidence to establish a historical fact that Holi Beas river used to be worshiped like a living legend as people, who follow deity culture in their day-to-day life, never showed disrespect to the river.
"There is a need to create the consciousness of a very high level about the importance of the rivers in the lives of the people in the hills," he stressed.
Minister for Forest and transport Govind Singh Thakur also endorses the fact the Beas rivers, as well as other rivers, should be worshiped and protected.
"The maha aarti is going to generate a movement in the state for protection the rivers by the community effort, and also maintaining religious sanctity of Beas. Kullu --- known for its rich culture and heritage, will lead the movement, not alone the state but also country, to save the rivers," said Thakur after the event.