Maha Kumbh Mela Begins
In what is known as the largest religious gathering on earth, 100 million people are expected to take part in the Maha Kumbh Mela, an ancient Hindu pilgrimage in in the small city of Allahabad, India. An estimated ten million participants were there for the first day of the celebration, which occurs in Allahabad once every twelve years.
The festival, which is timed to planetary alignments, dates back more than 2000 years and represents an opportunity for spiritual cleansing for those who bathe at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. Pilgrims convene here to wash away sins and bathe in spiritual energy in accordance with the Hindu tradition wherein Vishnu had to reclaim from demons an elixir of immortality. Four drops spilled onto Earth, marking the four holy spots where the Kumbh Mela is held every three years.
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