Maha Kumbh begins, lakhs throng confluence of Ganga and Yamuna
- IPL spot-fixing: Chennai Super Kings owner's kin under police scanner
- BJP tears into UPA govt on 4th anniversary, says it lacks leadership
- Jessica Lal murder: Actor Shayan Munshi, ballistic expert Manocha to face perjury trial
- India seeks access from US to 26/11 terror convicts Headley, Rana
- BSE Sensex falls 49 pts, Larsen & Toubro Limited shares hit by Q4 data
The Maha Kumbh began this morning with lakhs of devotees as well as ascetics and religious leaders of various orders converging on the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical river Saraswati here for a holy dip on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.
The inaugural day of the two-month long congregation, often described as the "greatest show on earth", was marked by the first "Shahi Snan" of 13 "akharas" wherein Naga Sadhus – a martial order of ascetics who move about either naked or scantily clad with matted hair and ash smeared bodies – arched to Sangam in processions with their leaders perched atop ornately decorated elephants, horses and chariots and musical bands in attendance in a unique blend of austerity and opulence.
The first to move out were Mahanirvani and Atal Akharas, followed by Niranjani and Anand and then Joona, Awahan and Agni.
They are to be followed by Nirvani Ani, Digambar Ani and Nirmohi and Naya Udasin, Bara Udasin and Nirmal akharas in the same order fixed during the British period following a violent clash among ascetics of different akharas at a kumbh congregation.
The akharas have been allotted fixed time, ranging from 30 minutes to about an hour depending upon the size of their respective procession, for bathing with routes for going to and returning from Sangam so separated as to ward off possibility of members of rival akharas coming in contact with each other.
Devotees from across the country had started pouring in since last evening and the influx continues despite cold weather and elaborate security arrangements on account of which bathers are being made to park their vehicles several kilometres away from the holy confluence and reach the Sangam on foot.
Vehicular traffic has been banned on most of the roads in the city from yesterday till tomorrow to facilitate movement of people.
- Fixing probe now reaches Bollywood, son of Dara Singh held
- BCCI cashes Pune Warriors guarantee, 'disgusted' Sahara walks out of IPL
- Sreesanth spent Rs 1.95L on clothes, bought friend BlackBerry, paid in cash: Police
- Delhi firm with MoD as client is linked to Pak cyberattacks
- After Infosys, iGATE sacks Phaneesh Murthy for sexual misconduct
- 2 weeks after harassment, Haryana schoolgirls return, cops in tow