Thousands of devotees at the Kumbh Mela in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj took a dip in the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati river on Monday during the second “Shahi Snan”, or holy bath, organised on the occassion of “Mauni Amavasya”.
The Kumbh includes six bathing days, including three “Shahi Snans”. Hindus consider the bath taken on the occassion of “Mauni Amavasya” the most sacred of all the bathing days at the mega event. The first of the “holy dips” was held on January 15 on the occassion of Makar Sankranti. The last “Shahi Snan” is scheduled for February 10 on the occassion of Basant Panchmi, which marks the arrival of spring.
Devotees believe bathing at the confluence of the rivers will cleanse them of their sins and set them free from the cycle of birth and death.
Here are some photographs from the event:
The Kumbh Mela started in Prayagraj on January 15. Religious leaders, disciples and members of the 13 akharas, or religious orders, participated in the first dip. According to some estimates, 12.5 crore people have taken the “holy dip” since January 14.
The event was traditionally called the Ardh Kumbh as it takes every six years, but the Uttar Pradesh government led by Chief Minister Adityanath renamed it Kumbh. The main Kumbh mela, which is organised every 12 years, will now be called Maha Kumbh. The Kumbh Mela lasts 50 days and will conclude on March 4.