Kumbh Mela 2019, the world’s largest human congregation, began on Tuesday with thousands of devotees taking a holy dip in the river Ganga for the ‘Shashi Snan’ in Prayagraj. The city has been engulfed in a massive security cover. Due to the huge number of people expected to take part in the mela, the administration has restricted the entry of all types of vehicles -- other than those required for essential services -- in the vicinity of Kumbh Nagari, the sprawling 32,000-hectare township that has come up on the banks of the river. As many as 12 crore visitors are expected in Prayagraj.
"Anand aa raha hai (I am feeling real contentment)," said 55-year-old Pramod Prakash from Kannauj as he made his way inside the Kumbh Nagari after walking from Allahabad Railway station with three heavy bags on his head.
"Don't think of comfort, devote yourself to Ganga 'maiyan' completely and you'll feel light yourself," he said, pointing to many in the crowd doing the same as him.
Posters with the slogan 'Chalo Kumbh Chale' were up in all public areas of the state and the city and many thousands walked their way through the Nagari to the river. But no one was complaining. For most, it was a walk to remember.
Here are the Live updates from Prayagraj:
8.35 am: Naga Sadhus gather at Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj.
#WATCH Hindu seers and saints head towards Sangam Ghat for a holy dip in river Ganga on the occasion of first ‘Shahi Snan’ at #KumbhMela2019 in Uttar Pradesh's Prayagraj (Early morning visuals) pic.twitter.com/9PBx4yBODE— ANI (@ANI) January 15, 2019
6.30 am: Latest visuals from Sangam Ghat in Prayagraj.
4.02 am: Early morning visuals of security deployed at Sangam Ghat in Prayagraj before the arrival of devotees for a holy dip in river Ganga on the occasion of first ‘Shahi Snan’.
Prayagraj: Early morning visuals of security deployed at Sangam Ghat before the arrival of devotees for a holy dip in river Ganga on the occasion of first ‘Shahi Snan’ at #KumbhMela2019 pic.twitter.com/Xd5M4D3jH4— ANI UP (@ANINewsUP) January 14, 2019
4 am: Devotees throng Panchayati Akhara at #KumbhaMela2019 to participate in the first 'Shahi Snan' & take a holy dip in river Ganga.