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In pics: Naga sadhus exude charisma and mystery at Kumbh

A look at the lesser know ash-smeared naked saints, commonly known as 'Naga sadhu' (holy men) of Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.

Naga sadhu

A Hindu Naga sadhu holds a young girl at the Sangam or confluence of the Yamuna, Ganges and mythical Saraswati rivers at the Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.

(Photograph:AFP)

Naga sadhu

Naga Sadhus take photos as newly-initiated 'Naga Sadhus' perform rituals on the banks of the Ganges River.

(Photograph:AFP)

Naga sadhu

A naga sadhu - holy man - shows off his 'jata' (long hair) as he marches with others to the 'Sangam'.

(Photograph:AFP)

Naga sadhu

An Indian devotee screams as he walks alongside a 'naga sadhu' or naked holy man during a procession of holy men to the 'Sangam'.

(Photograph:AFP)

Naga Sadhu

A young newly initiated 'Naga Sadhu' after performing evening rituals at the Akhara camp during the Maha Kumbh festival.

During every Kumbh Mela, the diksha - ritual of initiation by a guru - program for new members takes place.

(Photograph:AFP)

Naga sadhu

An Indian Naga Sadhu - Hindu Holy man - reads the newspaper at the Juna Akhara camp during the Kumbh Mela - Pitcher Fair.

(Photograph:AFP)

Naga sadhu

Naga sadhus arrive to take a dip during the first 'Shahi Snan' (grand bath) during 'Kumbh Mela'.

(Photograph:Reuters)