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Lakhs look for redemption at Kumbh's last 'Shahi Snan'

Last updated on: February 15, 2013 17:56 IST

Lakhs look for redemption at Kumbh

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A sea of pilgrims converged at Sangam for a holy dip on Friday on the occasion of Basant Panchami. They were joined by ascetics from various sects for the third and last Shahi Snan of the Maha Kumbh Mela.

Undeterred by the overcast weather and brief spells of showers, people turned out in large numbers to take the holy dip in the Sangam -- the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati.

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Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

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The massive security arrangements and vehicular restrictions forced people to walk several miles to reach their chosen bathing ghats.

The Sangam was abuzz with activity since the crack of dawn with Akharas of Naga Sadhus marching in processions for their last royal bath.

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Image: Naga Sadhus take part in the 'Shahi Snan'
Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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Lakhs look for redemption at Kumbh

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A decision was taken by the Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad two days ago to abstain from any type of ostentation during the last Shahi Snan, in a gesture aimed at condoling the death of 36 pilgrims in a stampede that took place at a railway station in Allahabad, on the previous Shahi Snan of Mauni Amavasya on February 10.

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Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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Lakhs look for redemption at Kumbh

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Elaborate security arrangements were put in place at the sprawling Kumbh Mela area with 25,000 personnel -- including those of police and paramilitary forces -- pressed into service to ensure that the last major bathing festival of the congregation goes off peacefully.

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Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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Lakhs look for redemption at Kumbh

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Seventy special trains will be run from Friday till Sunday in addition to the regular ones, to ensure the smooth exit of pilgrims from the city after their holy dip.

The Uttar Pradesh roadways is also plying an additional fleet of 6,000 buses to help clear the rush by road.

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Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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Lakhs look for redemption at Kumbh

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Although there were familiar sights of naked, ash-smeared ascetics who wore matted hair and garlands of marigold and rudraksh beads and carried swords and spears, musical bands playing devotional tunes were conspicuous by their absence on Friday.

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Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters
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Entry of heavy vehicles into the city has been suspended since Thursday morning and the restrictions are likely to remain in place till Saturday evening.

A fire broke out in Sector 4 of the Kumbh Mela area on Friday morning, leaving a sadhu dead and two others injured.

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Photographs: Adnan Abidi/Reuters

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