Rajahmundry: Many pilgrims believe taking the holy dip at the Pushkar ghat, the oldest ghat in Rajahmundry, is more auspicious than at any other ghat in the city. The geographical location of the ghat is also an attraction for the pilgrims, since it is quite near the railway station, and accessible to bus services. Besides, the proximity of a market where the pilgrims can get puja material is also the deciding factor.
Apart from these reasons, many programmes launched by the state government such as laser show, Godavari Harati etc were also arranged at this ghat.
Many people were also attracted to the Pushkar ghat after learning that Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu would perform holy dip on the first day of the Maha Pushkarms.
Focus on VIP and VVIP ghats like Saraswati ghat at Rajahmundry, Dowleswaram VIP bathing ghat, Subrahmanyeswara bathing ghat at Kovvuru by cops and officials and neglect of ghats for commoners which witness more rush was again one of the reasons for the stampede, said some pilgrims.
Meanewhile, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu urged pilgrims to utilise all the ghats available instead of converging on one ghat. As per official data, there are 151 ghats at different places in both East and West Godavari districts along the River Godavari.
Mr Naidu appealed to pilgrims to take holy dip at any of these the ghats instead of flocking at one ghat. Ghats were divided into VIP and general and the pilgrims allowed to take dips as per this division. VIP ghats are exclusively reserved for ministers, politicians and other government functionaries and general ghats are meant for commoners.
The ghats at Rajahmundry are at Kotilingala, Pushkara, Markandeya, Saraswati and Gowthami, while there are ghats at Ramapadalarevu, Gayathri ghat at Dowleswaram, Kotipalli, Ayinavilli, Polavaram, Atreyapuram, Razol, Sakinethipalli, Sithanagaram, Kunavaram, Ravulapalem, Kapileswarapuram, Mummidivaram, Kadiam, Alamur, K. Gangavaram, Tallarevu, Devipatnam, P. Gannavaram, Mamidikuduru, Allavaram, Malkipuram, Tallarevu, Nellipaka, V.R. Puram etc.