The week-long festivities of Holi would conclude in the city on Monday with Ganga Mela . Sarsaiya Ghat is ready for the historic event. The festival is celebrated in the memory of revolutionaries, who were released by British government after being made captive in 1941.
'Rango ka Thela' will be taken out from Hatia locality. It will move through different localities of the city before stopping at Hatia again. Youth would indulge in throwing colours. Women will shower colour and water from rooftops on the 'thela'. It leaves Birhana Road and other adjoining areas drenched. The youth would also break 'Rango ki handi' tied at a reasonable height. The boys form pyramids to break the 'handi'. Cash prizes are also given to the teams who emerge as winners.
Earlier, the thela used to head towards Sarsiyya Ghat from Hatia and people from their windows used to shower flower petals. 'Tesu ke phool' were used to play Holi. Now, it has given way to colours.
In 1941, people were playing Holi in Hatia which irked the British. Many revellers were arrested. The incident led to widespread resentment. The markets in Generalganj, Hatia, Moolganj and Collectorganj remain close. The Britishers were forced to release all those who had been arrested. "Co-incidentally that day had fallen on Anuradha Nakshatra, which is considered pious. All the people were taken to Sarsiyya Ghat on a 'thela', amid throwing of colours. This laid the base for the celebration of the day as Ganga Mela, a member of the Hatia Holi Committee said.
Now, the 'Rango Ka Thela commences its journey from Rajan Babu Park.
According to some historians, Ganga Mela dates much before. In the autobiography of Pandit Sadguru Sharan Awasthi, 'Marg Ke Gahre Pagchin', there is a specific mention of Ganga Mela. It is written that in 1910 when he had come to Kanpur from Deoria at an age of 10, the gap between Holi and Ganga Mela celebrations was long. This indicates that this tradition of playing with colour during Mela at the Ganga banks is around 120-125 years.
The preparations for Ganga Mela to be held at Sarsaiyya Ghat were nearing completion on Sunday evening. The ghat had been cleaned and readied. Workers were seen repairing streetlights. Stalls had aleady come up.
The custom of Ganga Mela dates back to British period. Ganga Mela is connected to the freedom struggle rather than mythology. The Mela is held in Anuradha Nakshtra, three to seven days after the full moon.
The festival is celebrated a week after Holi every year. People first indulge into colour throwing and thereafter head towards Ganga for taking a dip. Sarsiyya Ghat comes alive where leaders of different political parties, party workers and locals gather to enjoy the festival.
The charm of the festival could be felt in the old localities of the city like Hatia, Nayaganj, Birhana Road and others.