More than two million Hindu pilgrims braved bitter winter weather on Tuesday (26 Jan), to seek salvation by bathing before dawn int he icy waters of the sacred river Ganges.
CV Pilgrims boarding boats
SV Pilgrims carrying belongings (2 shots)
SV's boats carrying pilgrims across river (3 shots)
LV Large numbers of pilgrims on bank
GTV Pilgrims at Sangam (2 shots)
SVs pilgrims bathing and washing clothing
SV Pilgrims moving about
SV old man praying
SV Pilgrims waiting for procession
LV High Priest being carried on silver chair
CU Another high priest
CU Man with painted face (Sadhu) going to immerse
GV PAN..more Sadhus, going to immerse themselves in water
GV Others following
Initials CM/PMW/ES1455 CM/PMW/ES1600
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Background: More than two million Hindu pilgrims braved bitter winter weather on Tuesday (26 Jan), to seek salvation by bathing before dawn int he icy waters of the sacred river Ganges.
Tens of thousands of women and children were among those who flocked to one of Hinduism's holiest spots -- the confluence of the Ganges, Jumna and mythological Saraswati rivers near the historic city of Allahabad.
Devout Hindus believe that those who bathe during the Mala at the confluence, where a drop of the Nectar of Immortality fell from a celestial pitcher during the creation of the world -- will gain the spiritual benefit of 100,000 journeys on foot around the earth.
As bathing began before dawn, several foreign hippies and followers of the Krishna cult joined Hindus from all over India in procession down to the river.
About 7000 pilgrims and 5000 local volunteers were on hand to control the crush and prevent a repetition of a stampede at a Kumbh Mela here in 1954, when about 1,000 people were crushed to death.
This year's Festival is an Ardh (half) Kumbh Mela, held six years after the last full-fledged pilgrimage. The Males, which date back to the seventh century A.D., and hold ??? every twelve years, with the dates fixed according to an auspicious conjunction of the planets.