GUWAHATI, June 23 � Devotees from across the country and also abroad thronged the Kamakhya Temple at Nilachal Hill here as the Ambubachi Mela began today.
Around 70,000 pilgrims visited the temple today till 5 pm, as per the Kamrup Metro district administration and Tourism department.
Kamakhya Debuttar Board secretary Naba Kanta Sarma said Ambubachi Mela began at 12.51 am this morning, which is called Prabriti.
�The temple doors were closed. The temple will be reopened on June 26,� he said.
The time for opening of the temple (Nibriti time) is on June 26 at 1.15 pm.
Many devotees have started a period of fasting to coincide with the Mela.
Till 5 pm today, a total of 18,494 pilgrims have been registered by the administration in the four camps set up at Sonaram High School playground, Kamakhya railway station, Pandu ghat and Naharbari (near Kamakhya Temple). Registration of pilgrims is being carried out by Amtron.
�The number of pilgrims is expected to keep on rising for next two days,� said an official.
No untoward incidents were reported today, barring reports of a few persons fainting due to rush and exhaustion. Medical and disaster management team responded quickly and immediate treatment was provided to the devotees.
Kamrup Metro Deputy Commissioner Dr M Angamuthu visited different sites of the Mela and monitored the arrangements.
Additional Deputy Commissioners Rajib Prakash Barua, Bharat Bhushan Deb Choudhury, Dipak Choudhury and Muktanath Saikia, along with senior officials and Circle Officers are monitoring the whole event.
Only 16 registered bhandaras have been allowed to serve food. Food Safety officials have been put on duty. Restrictions have been placed on vehicular movement and entry of vehicles without passes has been prohibited at the Nilachal hill.
Ferry bus services have been arranged for devotees by ASTC from various places in the city, besides free transportation to and from Kamakhya foothill to the Kamakhya Temple.
Officials said uninterrupted power and water supply to the camps have been provided, besides ensuring sanitation and hygiene.
Around 10 lakh devotees are expected to converge in the city for the Ambubachi Mela this year, up from eight lakh last year.