Indian Sadhus, or Hindu holy men, perform rituals after taking ritualistic dips at "Sangam," the meeting point of Indian holy rivers the Ganges and the Yamuna, on the auspicious day of "Paush Purnima" during the annual traditional fair of Magh Mela in Allahabad, India, Jan 2, 2018. (RAJESH KUMAR SINGH / AP)
ALLAHABAD, India — Some 200,000 Hindu pilgrims arrived at the confluence of two major Indian rivers Tuesday on the first major bathing day of a 45-day annual ritual known as the Magh Mela.
Many stay in makeshift houses or tents in the northern city of Allahabad, where the Yamuna river meets the Ganges as well as the mythical Saraswati river. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus are expected to take a dip in the holy waters on astronomically auspicious days.
General view of the temporary camp set up by Hindu devotees on the banks of river Ganga ahead of the annual traditional fair Magh Mela at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, in Allahabad on January 1, 2018. (SANJAY KANOJIA / AFP)
In neighboring Nepal, Hindus offered prayers along the banks of the Hanumante river Tuesday as the monthlong Madhav Narayan festival started in the city of Bhaktapur. Devotees recite holy scriptures, and women fast for a month to pray for the longevity of their husbands.
An Indian Hindu devotee looks on while sitting at the back of a vehicle as he arrives to take part in the annual traditional fair Magh Mela at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswati, in Allahabad on Jan 1, 2018. (SANJAY KANOJIA / AFP)