Thousands of devotees are taking a holy dip at the Sangam, the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers in Allahabad on the occasion of Paush Purnima today.
Pilgrims in large numbers gathered at the banks of the River Ganges to purify their souls, as they immersed themselves in the chilly waters early morning on the special occasion.
The Paush Purnima is considered a special occasion to take a holy dip in the Ganges as it is believed that the gods descend to the earthly realms and is very much rewarding.
Along with the pilgrims, a large number of ascetics or sadhus took the holy dip and many of them were seen seated in unusual positions as they preformed special prayers to appease the gods.
"On this day all the gods come down to the earthly realms and it is very holy. We cannot completely describe the phenomenon as even the high gods sometimes come down on this day. We took a holy dip and are feeling really good. We will be here for about a month and then we will go back to our abodes," said Anantdas, an ascetic visiting the Mela.
Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh government has made elaborate arrangements for the second main bathing of the Kumbh Mela. The entry of vehicles into Mela area has been restricted which will continue till this evening.
Security has also been beefed up with the deployment of security persons from state police as well as central Para military forces.
160 commandos of the Anti-Terrorist Squad of the state police, CRPF and ITBP along with 30 companies of PAC and central Para military forces have been deployed in the Mela area.
The festival has its roots in a Hindu tradition that says the god Vishnu wrested from demons a golden pot containing the nectar of immortality.
Once every 12 years, tens of millions of pilgrims stream to Allahabad from across the country and abroad for the Maha Kumbh Mela at the Sangam, the point where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet with a third, mythical river Saraswati. (ANI)