Mathura/Agra, Oct 28 (IANS) Thousands of brothers and sisters took a holy dip in the Yamuna at Mathura Friday on the festival of Bhai Dooj as the bath is believed to liberate one from the cycle of birth and death and attain salvation.
'This was a boon conferred on Yamuna by her brother Yamraj,' Pandit Kamal Chaubey said.
The river banks in Mathura saw a huge influx of pilgrims early morning. 'People performed a puja of Yamuna and after the bath, clothes and gifts were offered to the sisters,' said Ramesh Bhai from Gujarat.
But many were not too pleased with the quality of water in the river.
In Agra, the devotees had a tough time taking a holy dip as garbage and pollution of the Yamuna water left a stink all around.
'In a few days, thousands will congregate here again for the Chhat puja. I wonder what all these Yamuna action plans have achieved,' asked Shravan Kumar Singh of the Braj Mandal Heritage Conservation Society.
Meanwhile, people continued to organise community feasts called 'Annakoots' after the Goverdhan Puja.
The real Goverdhan Parbat is an ecological mess with land grabbers and colonisers disfiguring the serene environment of the holy hill.
'The 40 km parikrama around the hill is now a real tough challenge. Now the degeneration of the hill is complete,' said Hari Mohan Shrotriya, a regular visitor to Goverdhan town.
In Goverdhan, 20 km from Mathura, the holy hill is believed to have been lifted by little Sri Krishna on his finger to protect villagers from the wrath of Indra Dev.
The worship of Goverdhan is believed to have an ecological symbolism as Goverdhan means increase in the cattle wealth and protection of grazing lands.