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Ardh Kumbh Mela begins at Allahabad

A large number of pilgrims start taking the holy dip at 4:48 am on the bathing ghats amid very tight security.

india Updated: Jan 03, 2007 11:40 IST

The Ardh Kumbh mela, considedred as the largest religious congregation in the world after Kumbh, began in Allahabad on Wednesday with the first auspicious bathing taking place in the early hours.

A large number of pilgrims and "Kalpavasis" who observe a month of penance at the mela ground, started taking the holy dip at 4:48 am at the bathing ghats and also Sangam, the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati. Today is auspicious "Paush Poornima" as per Hindu calendar.

Security was tight at the mela ground as policemen kept a close watch from towers and through CCTVs. Plying of vehicles was also banned.

Earlier, the whole mela ground was sanitised by security personnel in view of the terrorist strikes at places of religious importance in Uttar Pradesh like Ayodhya and Varanasi.

The turn-out of devotees on the first day of auspicious bathing was, however, less compared to the official estimate of about 80 lakhs. The bathing would, however, continue till 4:30 am and authorities expected the turn-out to increase later in the day.

The first royal bathing (Shahi Snan) will take place on Makar Sankranti day (January 14-15), when Naga ascetics of Mahanirvana Akahara will lead the bathing procession followed by those of Niranjani and other Akharas.

First Published: Jan 03, 2007 11:40 IST