Varanasi/Allahabad, Jan 15 (ANI): Thousands of Hindus took a dip in the River Ganges during the solar eclipse on Friday to ward off the "evil effects" of the celestial phenomenon.
In Varanasi, devotees offered water to the sun and took a dip in the Ganges, while priests and ascetics prayed and fasted.
"The significance of the fast is that one is not supposed to talk before taking bath. We wake up in the morning and without talking to anyone, we come here on the river bank to take a dip, and only after that we can talk," explained Amit Singh, a devotee.
In Allahabad, at the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers, devotees bathed in the holy waters to purify themselves.
A devotee said that the eclipse posed a danger to the gods, and pointed out that offering prayers and taking a dip in the holy river warded off the danger.
"It is believed that an eclipse poses danger to the gods. So, today, we have come here to take a dip in the holy river, and to offer prayers in order to help our God from the danger of the eclipse," said Balakdas Tyagi.
Hindus believe a dip in the holy rivers during eclipses saves them from the wrath of evil forces and brings prosperity in life.
A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and the earth, obscuring the sight of the sun either partially or completely. An annular solar eclipse is rare and occurs when the moon's shadow incompletely covers the sun, causing the sun to look like an annulus (ring).
According to scientists, the best place in India for viewing the annular eclipse is between Kodanda Ram Temple near Hampi town in Karnataka, and Dhanushkodi in Tamil Nadu.
The duration of this eclipse is said to be the longest so far, and won't be exceeded for another 1000 years. (ANI)