Amid heavy security, Naga sadhus thronged the sacred Kushavart Tirtha, where the Godavari river re-emerges, for the first 'Shahi Snan' (royal bath) of the 'Sinhastha' Kumbhmela 2003-04 of Nashik-Trimbakeshwar on Tuesday.
Coming after a gap of 12 years and considered the first royal bath of the new millennium, the holy dip was conducted amid frenzied chants of Naga sadhus belonging to the ten various akharas.
Thousands of dread-locked sadhus smeared with ash ran towards the Tirtha shouting 'har har mahadev' and 'bam bam bhole'. Then they stood on the step of the Tirtha and offered prayers before jumping into the water.
A tight security cordon was pulled over the entire area and extra police force, homeguards, NCC scouts and other volunteers also lifeguards had a tough time managing the stampede like situation amid incessant rains.