Chants of 'Har Har Mahadev' and 'Ganga Maiya Ki Jai' reverberated in the air as over 30 lakh people took a holy dip in the Ganges and at Sangam on Sunday on the occasion of Makar Sankranti during the Ardh Kumbh congregation in Allahabad.
Since early this morning, people from different parts of the city and adjoining areas were seen entering the nearly 30 bathing points (ghats) from four entry gates amid tight security arrangements by the administration.
Braving winter chill, hordes of saffron-clad sadhus, old and young, men and women, children and foreign tourists with excitement and curiosity writ large on their faces jostled with each other for space at the bathing ghats.
They were also joined by 'kalpavasis', householders who spend a month of penance during Kumbh or Ardh Kumbh, eat only once a day and bath thrice a day in the holy river.
Some hired boats which moved from the ghats to the Sangam, where the Ganges merges with Yamuna and mythical Sarawati.
King Bhagirath, an ancestor of Lord Rama, is believed to have brought the Ganges on the earth on this very day, which is celebrated as Makar Sankranti, when the Sun "enters" the Tropic of Capricorn.