Kumbh Mela 2019: Millions expected to participate in eight-week festival; authorities set up temporary bridges, mass kitchens

 Kumbh Mela 2019: Millions expected to participate in eight-week festival; authorities set up temporary bridges, mass kitchens

Pilgrims from across the world gathered for the Kumbh Mela, a mix of spirituality, politics and tourism that began on Tuesday. Reuters

During the eight-week festival in Prayagraj authorities expect up to 150 million people to bathe at the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and a mythical third river, the Saraswati. Reuters

During the eight-week festival in Prayagraj authorities expect up to 150 million people to bathe at the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna, and a mythical third river, the Saraswati. Reuters

On Tuesday, pilgrims led by naked, ash-smeared ascetics, some of whom live in caves, plunged into the cold waters during the first 'Shahi Snan' or royal bath. PTI

On Tuesday, pilgrims led by naked, ash-smeared ascetics, some of whom live in caves, plunged into the cold waters during the first 'Shahi Snan' or royal bath. PTI

Ahead of the festival's start, pilgrims moved towards temporary ashrams built of corrugated iron and canvas, many bedecked with fairy lights, on the east bank of the Ganges. Reuters

Ahead of the festival, pilgrims moved towards temporary ashrams built of corrugated iron and canvas, many bedecked with fairy lights, on the east bank of the Ganga. Reuters

The Hindu culture believes that bathing in the waters of the Ganges absolves people of sins; and bathing at the time of the Kumbh Mela, brings salvation from the cycle of life and death. Saurabh Sharma/101 Reporters

The Hindu culture believes that bathing in the waters of the Ganga absolves people of sins; and bathing at the time of the Kumbh Mela, brings salvation from the cycle of life and death. Saurabh Sharma/101 Reporters

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Authorities have set up temporary bridges, 600 mass kitchens and more than 100,000 portable toilets in a pop-up city at the confluence of the rivers, which is known as the sangam. PTI

Authorities have set up temporary bridges, 600 mass kitchens and more than 100,000 portable toilets in a pop-up city at the confluence of the rivers, which is known as the sangam. PTI

A cooking gas cylinder exploded in a tent at one of the areas on Monday, and triggered a massive fire. No loss of life or injury was reported. PTI

A cooking gas cylinder exploded in a tent at one of the areas on Monday, and triggered a massive fire. No loss of life or injury was reported. PTI

This year’s event comes at a critical time for the ruling BJP party which is expected to face a tough contest in a general election due by May. Saurabh Sharma/101 Reporters

This year’s event comes at a critical time for the ruling BJP party which is expected to face a tough contest in a general election due by May. Saurabh Sharma/101 Reporters

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Updated Date: Jan 15, 2019 14:11:25 IST