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Mysterious naked holy men a huge draw at India's Kumbh Mela
Millions of Hindu pilgrims plunge into rivers during holy festival | Metro News
In this Jan. At every Kumbh, including this year's, thousands of devotees were initiated into the reclusive sect of the Naga Sadhus, naked, ash-smeared cannabis-smoking Hindu warriors and onetime-armed defenders of the faith who for centuries have lived as ascetics in jungles and caves. In this Feb. The Kumbh Mela, or pitcher festival, is a series of baths by Hindu sadhus and sadhvis, holy men and women, and other pilgrims who believe the ritual cleanses them of their sins and ends the process of repeated reincarnation.
Millions dip into icy cold rivers for Indian holy festival Kumbh Mela
On one of the most notable days of the months-long Kumbh Mela festival, devotees rose at dawn in the northern city of Allahabad to immerse themselves at the confluence of three rivers — the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati. Thousands of Naga Sadhus, a devout, fierce and famously nude sect of followers of the Hindu god Shiv, and other holy men clad in saffron robes, led the mass bathing in the chilly waters. More than 30, police were on duty to manage the huge crowds and prevent the deadly stampedes that have marred previous gatherings. Special skimmer boats collected waste from the surface of the rivers and more than 40, temporary toilets have been installed.
Kumbh Mela, a Hindu festival at the confluence of three sacred rivers, is the largest regular gathering of people on earth. Pilgrims come together at a time and place of divine indication, forming a massive swell of humanity from which a single type usually stands out: the sadhu , or holy man. Hinduism's wandering monks have been a feature of the Indian subcontinent for 3, years. They disdain the conventional way of life, cutting all ties with their family, hometown, and local caste group.