Kumbh Mela: First ‘Shahi Snan’ on Makar Sakranti draws huge crowd

The Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj started today with the first “Shahi Snan” (holy bath) on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti. Over the next 48 days, more than 100 million devotees are expected to take the dip at the Sangam..the confluence of river Ganges, Yamuna and Saraswati.

People from all over India have already started their journey to participate in the Kumbh. At the last Kumbh in 2013, more than 120 million devotees took part.

This time, the Uttar Pradesh Government has deployed more than 30,000 police personnel to oversee crowds for the huge undertaking, and prevent stampedes that have marred previous gatherings.

A tent city along the river has also taken shape, with pilgrims camped out across a sprawling 45-square kilometre zone specially earmarked for the Kumbh.

The historic city was even renamed Prayagraj in October by the State’s government. This time, a lot of digitisation efforts are in place to make the Kumbh experience cashless and easy.

The Mela, which runs until March 4, was recognised as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2017.

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