Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad

The Kumbh Mela in northern India, started on January 13 and will stretch over 55 days in Allahabad.
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
Devotees from across the country had started pouring in since Sunday evening. The "Shahi Snan", began at around 6 am. The Mela, held every 12 years, will go on for the next two months and will conclude on Maha Shivaratri on March 10.
A devotee has river water poured over his head at the waters edge at the Sangham or confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges river.

Image courtesy: AFP
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
Devotees take a holy dip in the river Ganga during the Maha Kumbh festival.

Image courtesy: PTI
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
Devotees crossing the Pantoon bridge for taking the holy dip in the river Ganga.

Image courtesy: PTI
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
Couples, only hands seen, perform a ritual for the long life of their spouses at Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati on a cold day.

Image courtesy: AP
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
A Sadhu walks with his earthly possessions on the vast grounds which will receive millions of devotees that will congregate here for the next couple of months to celebrate the Kumbh Mela, in Allahabad.

Image courtesy: AFP
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
A man and a woman hold hands as they help each other wade into the waters of the Sangham or confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges river at the Kumbh Mela celebration in Allahabad.

Image courtesy: AFP
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
The inaugural day of the two-month-long congregation, often described as the "greatest show on Earth", was marked by the first "Shahi Snan" of 13 "akharas"

Image courtesy: PTI
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
Devotees started pouring in despite cold weather and elaborate security arrangements on account of which bathers are being made to park their vehicles several kilometres away from the holy confluence and reach the Sangam on foot.

Image courtesy: AFP
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
Security personnel are keeping a steady watch on the movement of the "Naga sadhus" along the route, from watch towers and by monitoring CCTVs as their processions have sparked off violent clashes in the past.
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
Exceptionally large crowds are also expected on Mauni Amavasya (February 10, 3 crore) and Basant Panchmi (February 15, 1.9 crore).
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
Spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Baba Ramdev and Asaram Bapu, also have planned their visits.
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
Vehicular traffic has been banned on most of the roads in the city from Sunday to facilitate movement of people.

Image courtesy: AP
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
The huge turnout of people, visits of high-profile gurus in addition to the presence of naga sanyasis have increased the pressure on police and administration for smooth functioning of the Kumbh Mela.

Image courtesy: AP
Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad
The "Shahi Snan", which is a star attraction of the event, began at around 6 am as curious, awestruck onlookers gathered on both sides of the over-a-kilometre-long road.

Image courtesy: PTI

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