21 February 2018

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01/14/2013 INDIA

India, 10 million pilgrims expected for the beginning of the Kumbh Mela

For 55 days, more than 100 million Hindus will bathe in the holy waters of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Sarawati. The Kumbh Mela falls every 12 years and is one of the most important Hindu festivals. Hygiene alarm: the high rate of pollution of waterways, the authorities have set up field hospitals and toilets.

Allahabad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than 10 million pilgrims are expected today for the first day of the Kumbh Mela, the biggest festival of the Hindu religion, which takes place every 12 years. At dawn this morning, hundreds of thousands of pilgrims had already immersed themselves in the cold waters of the Sangam, the confluence of the holy rivers Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati in the city of Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh). For 55 days, Hindus from all over India will arrive in the area, to celebrate the event expected to be "the largest gathering of humanity on Earth." For the next two months in fact, the Kumbh Mela is expected to attract more than 100 million people.

As per tradition, a long procession of sadhus (ascetics) half-naked and covered with coloured ashes, riding elephants, opened the festival.

To accommodate the pilgrims, the city of Allahabad has set up 14 field hospitals with 243 doctors available, and distributed more than 40 thousand mobile toilets across the territory. Due to the high level of pollution of the Ganges and the Yamuna, last week the authorities banned the factories that are located on the sides of rivers from discharging their waste waters. According to tradition, the immersion in the Sangam will wash away sins, and help the faithful to attain salvation. But many pilgrims who drink the water of the Ganges and bring whole bottles home, favor the spread of disease.

There is also a security alert, police have set up checkpoints on all the main roads of the city, with about 30 thousand agents allocated to control the smooth running of the festival.


See also

14/01/2010 INDIA
Start of the festival of Kumbh Mela, 70 million pilgrims to dip in the Ganges
More than 250,000 pilgrims dare the cold waters of the sacred river. The three-month-long festival is celebrated every 12 years. Seven people are killed during the first rush to the riverbanks.

27/01/2006 INDIA
In Gujarat Hindu pilgrimage designed to convert Tribal Christians to Hinduism
Shabri Kumbh Mela celebrations include sacred baths, free books and CDs under the banner "Arise Oh Hindus! Throw out the Christians!" Hindu fundamentalists plan to expel Christian missions to grab tribal lands.

22/03/2017 15:41:00 INDIA
The Ganges is a "living being." Raghuvanshi: historic decision, pulls wool from eyes of Hindu nationalists

The High Court of Uttarakhand equates the waters of the sacred river for Hindus to a human being. The goal is to reduce the pollution caused by industrialization and urbanization. Indian activist: "The Hindu radicals use pollution to come to power." The courts must also take action for Dalits who live on the river banks.

03/01/2007 INDIA
50 million Hindus expected in Allahabad as Kumbh Mela gets under way
One of the largest religious gatherings in the world, it is held every six years. The fulcrum of the pilgrimage is the ritual bathing of purification at the confluence India’s three most renowned sacred rivers.

15/01/2013 INDIA
The Maha Kumbh Mela, a spectacle of extremism and violence
This was stated by Lenin Raguvanshi, a lay activist in Varanasi. He denounces the participation of Naga sadhus, ascetic warriors who parade armed with swords and tridents, "militarizing" a religious moment as important as that of the Kumbh Mela. It is "urgent and necessary" to prohibit the participation of these individuals, and stand against the caste system, "to give dignity" to Dalits and tribals.

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