Kumbh Mela is the world's largest gathering of devotees who come from across the world to get a spiritual experience and to take a dip in the holy waters of Sangam - the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna, and mythical Saraswati rivers.
Starting Kumbh Mela with 'Har Har Gange'
At the break of dawn, chants of 'Har Har Gange' reached its crescendo as lakhs of devotees, ascetics and religious leaders of various orders congregated at the Sangam on Tuesday for a ritual dip, marking the beginning of the Kumbh Mela.
Chilly water dip at 4 am
Devotees braved the cold weather to take a dip in the icy water as they reached the Kumbh Nagari which witnessed a huge rush of people from far-away lands as early as 4 in the morning.
'Shahi Snan' of Naga sadhus
The highlight of Kumbh is the Naga sadhus who roam around with nothing but ash smeared on their bodies.
These saints reside in the Himalayas and are the first people to take the dip at Sangam on the day of Shahi Snan, or royal bath.
Meditation dance by sadhus
The Nagas are both feared and revered by those who are present in the Kumbh area. These saints can be seen dancing around or in the state of meditation.
Sadhus from 13 Akharas present
The sadhus are associated with almost all the Akharas that come to the Kumbh Mela.
Sadhus of 13 akharas (seven Shaiva, three Vaishnava, two Udasina, and one Sikh) have traditionally participated in the Kumbh Mela this year.
Saints pose for the shutterbugs
Akharas are spread in kilometres along the vast expanse of the Ganga and the visiting saints are ready to pose for the shutterbugs.
Fusing faith and spirituality
A group of saints who are seen passing through the crowded roads in the Kumbh, are chanting hymns and bhajans making the event a spiritual gathering where faith and spirituality converge.
Renamed as 'Kumbh'
Kumbh Mela was traditionally called 'Ardh Kumbh' as it takes place twice in 12 years, but the present Uttar Pradesh government recently renamed it 'Kumbh'.
A multitude of 12 crore expected
About 12 crore people are expected to visit the Kumbh between now and Maha Shivratri on March 4, when the Mela will come to a close.