GUWAHATI, June 24 - With better facilities on offer, the Ambubachi festival is drawing huge numbers of pilgrims from all over the country and abroad. Till date, at least a million people have visited Kamakhya from the 15th of this month.
In view of the growing popularity of the fest, the administration has made some special arrangements for the devotees, which has resulted in an increased footfall. The district administration today also claimed that even the number of international pilgrims has gone up.
Meanwhile, in view of the heavy rush of pilgrims this evening, the administration has stopped ferrying of pilgrims by vehicles up to the Kamakhya temple.
From within the country the maximum number of pilgrims are coming from West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Jharkhand, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pardesh, Gujarat, Andhra Pardesh, Punjab and Haryana, apart from local pilgrims from different corners of Assam and other north-eastern states.
�We have eight designated camps for the pilgrims and at any moment, at least 30 to 40 thousand people are availing the lodging facilities. Moreover, a good number of NGOs, private institutions etc., are participating in the mela offering various voluntary services,� a statement from the district administration said.
Efforts put in for crowd management, effective disaster management protocol, volunteer management plan, circular transportation facilities, lighting and illumination of the entire Nilachal Hill are considered as positive steps taken by the administration and appreciated by the pilgrims.
This time the district administration has also made elaborate arrangements to keep footwear and luggage safely at various locations. The 1098 childline service to trace missing children and special arrangements to handle elderly pilgrims, physically challenged, women and children with a comprehensive network of ferry transport services and reception facilities are also being admired.
The district administration has also made elaborate arrangements at the Basistha, Umanada, Sukleswar and Pandu Nath Mandir areas for the pilgrims.