PICS: Enjoy the colour, fervour and devotion at Kumbh Mela

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Allahabad, Jan 4: What is it that attracts hordes of people from across the world to Kumbh Mela? Call it devotion, religious fervour or simply the excitement to be part of a festival which has crossed religious boundaries. Kumbh Mela underway at Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, is considered as biggest religious gathering in the world.

Right from famous Naga Sadhus to foreign tourists, the festival is a colour riot. The official site of Kumbh Mela (http://kumbhmelaallahabad.gov.in/english/index.html) states that the festival is held every 12 years on the banks of Sangam - the confluence of the holy rovers of Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati.

The organisers of the Mela say that around 100 million people are likely to join the festival. The festival has turned high-tech as it is using GPS to help visitors to criss-cross various sites.

Some of the important days of Kumbh Mela are:

Makar Sankranti (January 14)

If legends are to be believed, one who takes holy bath in the rivers Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri on Makar Sankranti will attain pious credits.

Paush Purnima (January 27)

It is the full moon day in Hindu month of Paush. This is the last full moon of winter. By this time, the sadhu and hundreds of thousands of pilgrims arrive at the Kumbh Mela.

Mauni Amavasya Snan (February 10)

For the holy men and women, this is the main bathing day. New members to various holy monastic orders receive their first initiation on this day.

Sadhus arrive by a tractor at Sangam

Sadhus arrive by a tractor at Sangam during Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

Group of sadhus performing worship of an Elephant

A group of sadhus performing worship of an elephant before setting up their tents for the upcoming Maha Kumbh festival at Sangam in Allahabad.

Labourers work to construct a temporary pontoon bridge

Labourers work to construct a temporary pontoon bridge over the River Ganges for the upcoming Maha Kumbh festival in Allahabad.

Labourers work to construct a temporary pontoon bridge

Labourers work to construct a temporary pontoon bridge over River Ganges for the upcoming Maha Kumbh festival in Allahabad.

Temporary pontoon bridge over the river Ganga

Labourers construct a temporary pontoon bridge over the river Ganga ahead of the Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

Akhada Sadhus or holy men perform Ganga Puja

Akhada Sadhus or holy men perform Ganga Puja for peace and success of Kumbh Mela at Sangam in Allahabad.

Sadhus take part in the Dharm Dhwaja

Sadhus take part in the Dharm Dhwaja ceremony ahead of Maha Kumbh festival at Sangam in Allahabad.

Mahanirvani Akhara Naga sadhus take out a religious procession

Mahanirvani Akhara Naga sadhus take out a religious procession 'Peshwai' during Maha Kumbh festival in Allahabad.

Sadhus dance during a flag raising ceremony

Sadhus dance during a flag raising ceremony at Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

Sadhus after attending a meeting with Mela officers

Various Akhada sadhus or holy men after attending a meeting with Mela officers ahead of "Kumbh Mela" at Sangam in Allahabad.

Juna Akhada sadhus eat "langar"

Juna Akhada sadhus eat "langar" before taking out a religious procession (peswai) ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

Juna Akhada Naga Sadhus flaunt their hair

Juna Akhada Naga Sadhus flaunt their hair during a religious procession (peshwai) ahead of the Kumbh Mela at Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh.

Juna Akhada Sadhus take a look at an elephant

Juna Akhada Sadhus take a look at an elephant before taking it out on a religious procession ahead of the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad.

Naga sadhu smokes a chillum on a cold day

A Naga sadhu smokes a chillum on a cold day on the banks of the Ganga river ahead of the Maha Kumbh mela in Allahabad.

Juna Akhada Naga Sadhus warming themseleves around a fire

Juna Akhada Naga Sadhus warming themseleves around a fire early in the morning ahead of the "Kumbh Mela" in Allahabad.

Sadhus or holy men staging a dharna

Sadhus or holy men staging a dharna protesting against discrepancies in land allotment at Kumbh Mela in Allahabad.

Labourers work to construct a temporary pontoon bridge

Labourers work to construct a temporary pontoon bridge over River Ganges for the upcoming Maha Kumbh festival in Allahabad.

Tents are set up in an Indian camp of sadhus

Tents are set up in an Indian camp of sadhus on the banks of "Sangam", the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, for the upcoming one-month-long Maha Kumbh festival in Allahabad.

Ambulances flagged off by UP Govt for Kumbha Mela

Ambulances flagged off by UP Health Minister for Kumbha Mela in Allahabad.

A woman displays a placard

A woman displays a placard while taking part in a religious procession during Kumbh Mela at Sangam in Allahabad.

Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal arrives in Allahabad

Railway Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal arrives at the Allahabad railway station on Tuesday to check the arrangements for "Maha Kumbh".

A boy sadhu performing Yoga

A boy sadhu performing Yoga as other sadhus look on at the Juna Akhada camp ahead of Kumbha Mela in Allahabad.


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