Kumbh Mela: Hindu pilgrims throng Haridwar
Haridwar, Jan 13: One of the world's largest religious gathering, the Kumbh Mela is all set to begin on Thursday, Jan 14.
Millions have pilgrims have already arrived in the holy city of Haridwar to herald the Maha Kumbh on the banks of Ganges.
With over six million pilgrims expected to arrive and participate in the important ritual bath or the holy dip in the river Ganges, the authorities have delivered an important message of environmental protection.
On Tuesday, Jan 12 the government of Uttarakhand published full-page advertisements in national news papers listing a code of conduct for pilgrims.
The code included rules such as 'do not to use detergents or soaps when bathing in the river', and 'do not to bring polythene and plastic'.
India's holy river is one of the most polluted river in the world.
With an estimated 2.5 million men taking a ritual bath in the river on the first day alone, the country can only hope that the pilgrims take up the personal responsibility of saving the sacred river.
What is Kumbh Mela?
Kumbh mela is a Hindu pilgrimage which takes place every 12 years. The mela commemorates the epic battle between the gods and demons over the Kumbh (urn) of immortality.
The fight took place over 12 days and 12 nights which is considered equivalent to 12 human years.
Besides the millions of Hindu pilgrims looking for a spiritual journey, foreign tourists are drawn to the vibrancy of the festival.
The sadhus, who have sacrificed all worldly pleasures as mortal trappings and spend their lives in remote regions of the mountains, attend the mela.
The ash-covered and often naked Naga sadhus have become the image of the mela across the world.