Braving cold weather, made worse by early morning rainfall, millions of devotees today took a holy dip in the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati on the auspicious bathing festival of Mauni Amavasya. Undaunted by the hostile weather and the slipperiness of the roads, bathers walked several miles to reach the holy Sangam and take “snan” while observing silence (mauna) – an austerity from which the bathing festival derives its name.
Tight security measures were in place across the vast landscape around the Sangam where the annual month-long religious congregation of “Magh Mela” is also underway.
During the congregation, religious leaders and householders live together in tent-houses erected on the banks of the Ganges, spending a month observing austerities like sleeping on the ground, bathing twice a day and having only one meal daily.
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According to the control room set up by the district administration for the Magh Mela, more than five million people had taken holy dip by the evening.
Mauni Amavasya traditionally witnesses the largest turnout of devotees every year.