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Kumbh Mela festival kicks off in India with holy procession to river

ITN News Editor
By ITN News Editor January 15, 2019 13:25

Kumbh Mela festival kicks off in India with holy procession to river

Millions of pilgrims, led by naked, ash-smeared Hindu holy men, plunged themselves into the icy cold waters of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and a mythical third river, the Saraswati, to mark the beginning of the Kumbh Mela. Pilgrims from across the world are gathering in India for the religious festival, the world’s largest and a heady mix of spirituality, politics and tourism, garnering extra attention ahead of a general election in the Hindu-majority country this year.During the eight-week festival at Prayagraj in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, authorities expect up to 150 million people, including a million foreign visitors, to bathe in the river. Devout Hindus believe that bathing in the waters of the Ganges absolves people of sins and bathing at the time of the Kumbh Mela, or the “festival of the pot”, brings salvation from the cycle of life and death. More than 80 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people are Hindus, many of them deeply religious despite an increasingly Westernized middle class.

ITN News Editor
By ITN News Editor January 15, 2019 13:25