Millions of Hindus in India have been bathing in the banks of the Ganges river in celebration of the world’s biggest religious festival, the Makar Sankranti. “Hindus believe that bathing in the Ganges during the three-month-long Kumbh Mela festival cleanses them of their sins. The festival commemorates a mythical battle between gods and demons over a pitcher of the nectar of immortality. During the struggle, a few drops of nectar fell in four different places: Allahabad, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Haridwar in Uttarakhand, Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh and Nasik in Maharashtra. The Kumbh Mela alternates between these four places and takes place every three years. This year the festival took place in Haridwar, with around one million pilgrims bathing in the Ganges there yesterday. Once every 12 years, it becomes the even bigger Maha Kumbh Mela, or Grand Pitcher Festival, the biggest gathering of humanity for a common purpose anywhere in the world.”
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