Leap of faith: Tens of thousands of Hindu pilgrims take holy dip to celebrate India's Kumbh Mela festival
By NAOMI LEACH FOR MAILONLINE and AP
PUBLISHED: 14:45 GMT, 13 September 2015 | UPDATED: 02:26 GMT, 14 September 2015
Dreadlocked Indian holy men and Hindu pilgrims washed away their sins with a religious dip during the second Kumbh Mela bathing or Pitcher Festival at Trimbakeshwar in Nasik, India on Sunday.
Hindu devotees take a holy dip in the waters of Godavari river to celebrate the festival which honours the victory of gods over demons in a furious mythological battle.
The sadhus, or 'Godmen', naked and with their faces painted, danced and chanted alongside tens of thousands of pilgrims celebrating the Shahi Snan, meaning 'royal bath'.
Hindu sects followed one another in shedding their orange robes before splashing joyously into the sacred water at Nashik. Their time to bathe lasted just seconds, however, as hundreds of police officers frantically blew their whistles to signal for them to hastily make way for the next wave of devotees.
The Kumbh Mela -a celebration of faith in which Hindus bathe in a sacred river - is held every third year and is rotated between four holy sites.
As a result, it takes place at Nashik every 12 years and although it isn't on the same scale as the editions on the Ganges at Haridwar and the Saraswati at Allahabad, it still draws millions of pilgrims.
Nashik is unique out of the four venues in that it has two main bathing sites, the Godavari river in Nashik and nearby Trimbakeshwar temple ghat, stretching the emergency services across a wide area.
The Kumbh Mela has its origins in Hindu mythology, which describes how a few drops of the nectar of immortality fell on all of the places that host the festival, the fourth being Ujjain in central India.
Between eight and 10 million pilgrims are expected to attend the two-month-long Hindu festival this year. Linkback: https://tubagbohol.mikeligalig.com/index.php?topic=80961.0