Wednesday 16 April 2014

Millions plunge into River Ganges

Millions of Hindu devotees arrive for a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of Hindu holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati (AP)

Millions of devout Hindus have plunged into the waters of the holy Ganges River in India in a religious ritual that they believe will wash away their sins.

It is one of the most auspicious days of the Kumbh Mela, or Pitcher Festival, which lasts 55 days and is one of the world's largest religious gatherings.

By the end of the day as many as 30 million people are expected to have taken a dip at the place where the Ganges meets the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers at the edge of Allahabad in northern India.

There are six auspicious bathing days, decided by the alignment of stars, when devout Hindus bathe to wash away their sins and free themselves from the cycle of death and rebirth.

Press Association

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