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Naga Sadhus or Hindu holy men, smeared with ash, drink tea inside their makeshift camps near the confluence of river Ganges and the Bay of Bengal, ahead of Makar Sankranti festival at Sagar Island, south of Kolkata January 13, 2015. (Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

Naga Sadhus or Hindu holy men, smeared with ash, drink tea inside their makeshift camps near the confluence of river Ganges and the Bay of Bengal, ahead of Makar Sankranti festival at Sagar Island, south of Kolkata January 13, 2015. Hindu monks and pilgrims are making their annual trip to Sagar Island for the one-day festival of “Makar Sankranti” on Wednesday. (Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)
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14 Jan 2015 12:22:00
A man flies a kite made of 110 Tukkal or paper lanterns for the Hindu festival of “Makar Sankranti”, which marks the start of spring, in Ahmedabad January 13, 2011. (Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters)

A man flies a kite made of 110 Tukkal or paper lanterns for the Hindu festival of “Makar Sankranti”, which marks the start of spring, in Ahmedabad January 13, 2011. (Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters)
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28 Mar 2016 10:39:00
A Hindu pilgrim feeds biscuits to an ox to seek blessing before heading for an annual trip to Sagar Island for the one-day festival of “Makar Sankranti”, in Kolkata, India January 10, 2017. (Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

A Hindu pilgrim feeds biscuits to an ox to seek blessing before heading for an annual trip to Sagar Island for the one-day festival of “Makar Sankranti”, in Kolkata, India January 10, 2017. (Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)
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14 Jan 2017 12:56:00
A Sadhu or a Hindu holy man carrying his pet monkey walks after taking a dip at the confluence of the river Ganges and the Bay of Bengal on the occasion of “Makar Sankranti” festival at Sagar Island, south of Kolkata, India, January 14, 2017. (Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

A Sadhu or a Hindu holy man carrying his pet monkey walks after taking a dip at the confluence of the river Ganges and the Bay of Bengal on the occasion of “Makar Sankranti” festival at Sagar Island, south of Kolkata, India, January 14, 2017. (Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)
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16 Jan 2017 10:30:00
A Sadhu or a Hindu holy man performs to receive money from pilgrims at a makeshift shelter, before heading for an annual trip to Sagar Island for the one-day festival of “Makar Sankranti”, in Kolkata, India, January 10, 2018. (Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

A Sadhu or a Hindu holy man performs to receive money from pilgrims at a makeshift shelter, before heading for an annual trip to Sagar Island for the one-day festival of “Makar Sankranti”, in Kolkata, India, January 10, 2018. (Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)
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22 Jan 2018 06:46:00
A sadhu, or a Hindu holy man, blesses a devotee as he smokes marijuana at a transit camp on the way to Gangasagar, in Kolkata, India, Sunday, January 7, 2018. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims are expected to take the annual holy dip at Gangasagar, where the Ganges River reaches the Bay of Bengal, on the auspicious Makar Sankranti festival day that falls on Jan. 14. (Photo by Bikas Das/AP Photo)

A sadhu, or a Hindu holy man, blesses a devotee as he smokes marijuana at a transit camp on the way to Gangasagar, in Kolkata, India, Sunday, January 7, 2018. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims are expected to take the annual holy dip at Gangasagar, where the Ganges River reaches the Bay of Bengal, on the auspicious Makar Sankranti festival day that falls on Jan. 14. (Photo by Bikas Das/AP Photo)
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10 Jan 2018 07:06:00
A Hindu holy man on his way to the annual holy dip at Gangasagar, gestures towards a visitor as he rests at a transit camp in Kolkata, India, Wednesday, January 6, 2016. (Photo by Bikas Das/AP Photo)

A Hindu holy man on his way to the annual holy dip at Gangasagar, gestures towards a visitor as he rests at a transit camp in Kolkata, India, Wednesday, January 6, 2016. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims are expected to take the annual holy dip at Gangasagar, where the Ganges River reaches the Bay of Bengal, on the auspicious Makar Sankranti festival day that falls on Jan.14. (Photo by Bikas Das/AP Photo)
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10 Jan 2016 08:06:00


“Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage in which Hindus gather at the Ganges river. The normal Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 3 years, the Ardh (half) Kumbh Mela is celebrated every six years at Haridwar and Prayag, the Purna (complete) Kumbh takes place every twelve years, at four places (Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik). The Maha (great) Kumbh Mela which comes after 12 “Purna Kumbh Melas”, or 144 years, is held at Allahabad.

The last Ardh Kumbh Mela was held over a period of 45 days beginning in January 2007, more than 70 million Hindu pilgrims took part in the Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag, and on January 15, the most auspicious day of the festival of Makar Sankranti, more than 5 million participated. The previous Maha Kumbh Mela, held in 2001, was attended by around 60 million people, making it at the time the largest gathering anywhere in the world in recorded history”. – Wikipedia

Photo: Sadhus (holy men) smoke at their camp near the ritual site at Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers during the Ardh Kumbh Mela festival (Half Pitcher festival) January 18, 2007 in Allahabad, India. Millions of Hindu pilgrims have flocked to the largest religious gathering in the world which lasts for 45 days in northern India. The festival commemorates the mythical conflict between gods and demons over a pitcher filled with the “nectar of immortality”. Devotees believe that taking a holy dip in the Ganges at this time washes away their sins and paves the path to salvation. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
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30 Jun 2011 10:27:00