The largest religious gathering anywhere on earth gets under way Tuesday, with tens of millions of Hindu pilgrims congregating in India to bathe in sacred rivers for the Kumbh Mela. Pilgrims travel from every corner of India for the ritual dip Organisers are expecting the enormous spiritual festival in Allahabad to attract more than 100 million devotees over the next 48 days, with seas of pilgrims camped by the riverside. The ancient city in northern Uttar Pradesh state rises alongside the banks of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers. The confluence of the three — known as Sangam — is considered especially holy and Hindus believe bathing there during the Kumbh helps cleanse sins and brings salvation. “This pilgrimage gives me peace of mind and an opportunity to reflect on my life,” said Sangeeta Gangotri, a pilgrim who travelled 650 kilometres (403 miles) from Nagpur in western Maharashtra state to Allahabad. The riverbank has transformed into a riot of noise and colour. Naked, dread-locked holy men smeared in ash and sadhus clad in saffron robes wander the crowds, offering blessings to pilgrims who have travelled from every corner of India for the ritual dip. “All the Gods descend on… Read full this story
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