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Twenty million Hindu devotees gather to bathe at Kumbh mela

Twenty million Hindu devotees have gathered to take a ritual bath at the ongoing Kumbh mela - the world’s largest religious gathering, at Prayagraj in North India. A Hindu festival, Basant Panchami, which falls on February 10 is believed to be an auspicious date for the ‘shahi snan’ or royal holy dip at the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers. ''Shahi snan'' is the central highlight of the Kumbh Mela and the most important part of the celebration. The Mela, which commenced on January 15 on Makar Sankranti, has had two ''Shahi snans'' so far. Basant Panchami is the third and the last ‘Shahi snan’ of the Kumbh. Hindus believe that a holy dip during Kumbh ends the cycle of birth and ensures salvation.
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