Lakhs of people thronged various ghats of Ganga and its confluence with Yamuna and mythical Saraswati for Vasant Panchami and the third and final "royal" bath by sants of akharas during the Ardh Kumbh in Allahabad on Tuesday.
Over 25 lakh people had reached the Sangam Nagari last night itself. They braved the early morning chill and fog to be the earliest to have a holy dip.
Mahanirvani akhara with its Mandaleshwars and Mahamandaleshwars perched on colourfully decorated chariots were the first to set out in a majestic procession to the Sangam for the third and final Shahi Snan. Senior Naga ascetics on horseback waved swords and spears as thousands of other nude or scantily clad sanyasis marched on foot to the accompaniment of musical bands.
People lined the barricades erected to protect the route and watched the procession.
Tight security was in place with a huge turnout of over two crore people for the previous auspicious bathing day of Mauni Amavsya on January 19.
Tuesday marks the beginning of spring season and is also dedicated to worship of Saraswati, the goddess of learning.