Monday Afternoon News: 10 Million People Bathe in Allahabad’s Rivers
It’s the beginning of Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival—and the largest gathering on earth— that occurs every 12 years and lasts for 55 days. Millions of Hindus make the pilgrimage to the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in Allahabad, India, where they cleanse their sins in the rivers’ water.
For festival-goers, one of the most memorable spectacles of the day was when the Naga sadhus, or ascetics, sprinted into the river reciting religious chants, many clad only in marigold garlands.
The naked ash-smeared men arrived in a colourful procession and waded into the chilly waters of Sangam - the point at which the rivers converge.
The Kumbh Mela has its origins in Hindu mythology - many believe that when gods and demons fought over a pitcher of nectar, a few drops fell in the cities of Allahabad, Nasik, Ujjain and Haridwar - the four places where the Kumbh festival has been held for centuries.
Although the gathering is held every 12 years, this year’s festival is what is known as a Maha Kumbh, which only occurs every 144 years and is always held at Allahabad. It will last for 55 days, a period of time determined by an astrological calculation
There are six particularly auspicious days during the festival—the next one being Feburary 10—when 35 million people are expected to bathe.
Image: via BBC. See more here.