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Kumbh Mela Special on Maghi Purnima

Chants of ‘Har Har Mahadev’ and ‘Ganga Maiya Ki Jai’ let the air as lakhs of believers took a dip at Sangam — the convergence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers — at Allahabad on the auspicious occasion of Maghi Purnima.

The penultimate bathing day of the over 50-day-long Kumbh Mela, Maghi Purnima marks the end of the month-long fasting period of Kalpwasi pilgrims. “Kalpwasis are usually regarded the most faithful pilgrims of Prayaga Kumbh Mela. They promise to live an ascetic and minimalist life on the banks of the Ganga for a month. “After today’s holy bath they all will head back to their respective homes,” told an old ascetic.

A nip in the air disappointed to prevent the overwhelming crowd of devotees seen using the holy dip as early as 4 a.m., despite vehicle restrictions in the proximity of the makeshift township of Kumbh Nagri. Forty-nine special trains and 2,500 buses were rolled into service by the administration to ferry enthusiasts from far away places to the Kumbh on Maghi Purnima.

Though not a shahi snan (royal bath), Maghi Purnima — like Paush Purnima and Maha Shivratri — is called a parv snan and is part of the six major bathing days during the Kumbh.

The faith is that a dip in the Ganga on a propitious day washes away sins.

The Uttar Pradesh government announced the day — Maghi Purnima — a public holiday.

According to the administration, over 1.50 crore devotees are required to take the holy dip by the end of the day. As many as 40 bathing ghats have been made to manage the crowd. Over 1.07 crore pilgrims had taken the dip in Sangam area on Paush Purnima on January 21.

The grand festival, which started on Makar Sankranti (January 15), will mark the last bathing day on March 4 on Maha Shivratri.

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