Final millions bathe at India's Kumbh megafestival | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 05, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, March 05, 2019

Final millions bathe at India's Kumbh megafestival

India's Kumbh Mela religious megafestival wrapped up yesterday with some 10 million pilgrims expected to take a final holy plunge, taking the final tally towards 250 million, officials said.

"We expect at least 10 million today because it is both the last day and Mahashivratri," one of the biggest Hindu holy days, government official Prabhat Shukla told AFP.

"Around 220 million people have visited the Kumbh as per our last calculations. The final tally will only be updated after the end of the festival but it could be around 250 million," Shukla added.

The 48-day festival in the northern city of Allahabad, recently renamed Prayagraj after the region's ancient Hindu name by the state's Hindu nationalist government, began in February.

Hindus believe bathing at the meeting point of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati at the festival -- home to a vast tent city bigger than Manhattan -- brings salvation.

According to Hindu mythology, gods and demons fought a war over a sacred pitcher, or Kumbh, containing the nectar of immortality. Drops fell at four locations -- one being Allahabad.

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