With Shiva's name in the air, 55-day Kumbh comes to close today
The largest human congregation in the world, the Kumbh Mela reaches its last day today. With the belief that taking a dip in the Ganga will pave the way for their salvation, over 130 million pilgrims are expected to participate in the 55-day festival.
The final holy dip
Even before midnight, devotees from different walks of life and parts of the country had begun to pour into the Sangam city Prayagraj to take holy dip on Mahashivratri, the great night of Shiva and the last bathing day during the one-and-a-half-month Kumbh Mela.
According to Hindu mythology, Mahashivratri symbolises the last holy bath of Kalpvasis who spend the month of Magh as Kalpvas, the period of austerity, living a minimalistic life.
Over 1 crore to take the final bath
An estimated 1 crore devotees are expected to bathe on this auspicious day, officials say.
Heavy rush on their mind, visitors began arriving at the makeshift Kumbh Nagri in Prayagraj even before midnight. By morning, the bathing ghats brimmed with colours of life.
Security beefed up
Police and central para-military personnel were keeping a close watch on the movement of people and vehicles and guiding them towards the bathing ghats.
Makar Sankranti to Mahashivratri
Kumbh, one of the largest religious gatherings in the world, began on January 15 on Makar Sankranti.
Six bathing dates
There are six bathing dates. Of these, shahi snaans are held on Makar Sankranti, Mauni Amawasya and Basant Panchami.
Parv snaans are held on Paush Poornima and Maghi Poornima.