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Millions converge as Maha Kumbh begins

Last updated on: January 14, 2013 09:04 IST

Millions converge as Maha Kumbh begins

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Millions of people, mostly Hindu pilgrims and god-men, have gathered at Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, to wash their sins after taking a dip at the Triveni Sangam, or confluence of holy Ganga, Yamuna and mystical Saraswati rivers.

The once-in-12 years Maha Kumbh Mela, billed as the biggest religious gathering in the world, witnessed more than 40 million people on the main bathing day in Allahabad in 2001, breaking the world record of the biggest human gathering.

The first written evidence of the Kumbh Mela can be found in the accounts of Chinese traveler Huan Tsang who visited India in 629-645 CE, during the reign of King Harshavardhana.

According to medieval Hindu theology, its origin is found in one of the most popular medieval puranas, the Bhagavata Purana.

Haridwar, on the banks of Ganga in Uttarakhand, hosted the Purna Kumbh mela in 2010, where an estimated 40 million people took holy bath.

The ten-months-old Uttar Pradesh government led by Akhilesh Yadav is all decked up to showcase massive arrangements for the Kumbh Mela 2013 in Allahabad.

Rediff.com takes a look at the grand preparations for the mega festival.

In this photograph, a devotee prays as she takes a holy dip in the waters of Ganga ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

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Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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People walk past a tent city constructed for masses of pilgrims ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad

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Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters
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Millions converge as Maha Kumbh begins

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A holy man holds a sacred lamp as he performs evening prayer on the river bank of Yamuna ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

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Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

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Millions converge as Maha Kumbh begins

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God-men take part in a procession to attend the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

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Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

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Millions converge as Maha Kumbh begins

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Hindu devotees pray as they take a holy dip in the waters of the Gnaga ahead of the "Kumbh Mela", in Allahabad.

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Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters
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A naga sadhu walks past cloths hung up to dry after taking a holy dip in the Ganga ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

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Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

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Millions converge as Maha Kumbh begins

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Labourers work on an under-construction pontoon bridge spanning the river Ganga ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

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Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

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Millions converge as Maha Kumbh begins

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A man dressed as Kali Maa, the goddess of power, performs with a burning camphor tablet on his tongue during a religious procession ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

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Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

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A man rows his boat in the waters of Ganga ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

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Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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A cow crosses a road past municipal corporation sweepers cleaning a road leading to the banks of Ganga ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

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Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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A barber shaves the head of a devotee on the banks of Ganga ahead of the Kumbh Melain Allahabad.

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Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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A boy unbuttons his shirt to take a holy dip in the waters of Gange ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

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Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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A devotee prays as he takes a holy dip in the waters of Ganga ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

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Photographs: Ahmad Masood/Reuters

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Sadhus perform prayers for a peaceful Kumbh Mela on the banks of Ganga in Allahabad.

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Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

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