Makar Sankranti Today: Thousands of devotees from across the country took a holy dip at the confluence of the River Ganga and the Bay of Bengal on the occasion of Makar Sankranti this morning. The pilgrimage is taking place amid strict COVID-19 health safety protocols and a large number of volunteers and police personnel have been deployed to ensure people follow the guidelines, officials said. Also Read - Makar Sankranti 2021: What to Donate as Per Your Zodiac Sign

With prayers on their lips, the devotees jostled for space since early hours to take a dip in the holy water at Ganga Sagar, also known as ‘Sagardwip’. Braving cold and fog, pilgrims from different parts of the country came out of their camps early in the morning to take the holy dip at the confluence. Also Read - Top 5 Headlines of The Day: Trump Impeached For Second Time, Farmers Burn Copies of Agri Laws on Lohri and More

Every year, an ocean of pilgrims gathers in Sagar Island to take a dip at the confluence of the River Ganga and the Bay of Bengal and offer prayers in the Kapil Muni Temple on the occasion, which marks the end of the winter solstice. However, officials said that this time, a lesser number of pilgrims have come to Gangasagar due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The devotees also congregated at the banks of Sangam, Prayagraj and other auspicious rivers to bathe and offer prayers. Tight security arrangements have been made by the temple and district administrations, keeping in view the crowd.

The timings of the holy dip this year is from 6.02 AM on Thursday to 6.02 AM on Friday, according to the Hindu calender.

Prime Minister Modi greeted people on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. The day marks the start of the sun’s northward journey, ushering in longer days.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath early Thursday morning offered prayers at the Gorakhnath Temple here on the occasion of Makar Sankranti and greeted people on the festival.

“I wish everyone a happy Makar Sankranti. This festival is celebrated across the country in different names – In north India, it is called Sankranti, while in South India it is called Pongal Lohri in Punjab, and in Assam it is celebrated as Bihu,” he said.

Adityanath, who is also head of Goraksh Peeth followed tradition by offering the first Khichdi at the Gorakhnath temple.

The Chief Minister further stated lakhs of people come to offer prayers at the Gorakhpur temple. The temple also holds a month-long Khichdi fair from the day of Makar Sankranti in the temple premises.

(With inputs from agencies)