Lifestyle & Belief

Ganges-bathing attracts millions on auspicious day of Mauni Amavasya in India (VIDEO)


Hindu devotees carry their posessions as they walk towards the banks of the holy Ganges river as people gather ahead of the Maha Kumbh Mela on January 13, 2013 in Allahabad, India.


Daniel Berehulak

Millions of Hindus came to Allahabad, India to bathe in the Ganges river today, as they celebrated an auspicious configuration of the moon known as Mauni Amavasya. 

According to the Deccan Herald, the auspicious arrangement of the moon has been visible since yesterday afternoon, attracting thousands upon thousands of devotees to take a brief dip in the waters.

Read more from GlobalPost: Mala Kumbh Mela festival, "greatest show on earth."

Saints smeared with ash led the plunge into the water in the morning, reports Channel News Asia, and it's estimated around 20 million people are currently crammed into the area designated for Hindu bathing.

The holy 55-day-long Kumbh Mela festival is held every 12 years in Allahabad, with less major events held every three years.

Today is the most auspicious day of the event, says the BBC, which occurs where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet.

Over 8 million bathers turned out on January 14th, the first day of the event, added the BBC.

Authorities concerned about a potentially deadly crowd crush — an unfortunate reality of past Khumbh Mela events — are encouraging devotees to quickly bathe then leave the area, writes AFP.

Here's video of the beginning of 2013's Kumbh Mela: