Allahabad, India

In what is described as another biggest human gathering of the world, 30 million pilgrims took the holy dip at the meeting point of the Ganges and the Yamuna rivers at Kumbh Mela in India.

Kumbh Mela Chief Devesh Chaturvedi said, "By afternoon over 20 million people had taken the holy dip and by evening the numbers crossed 30 million." He added that Sunday was one of most auspicious days of the festival.

The government deployed more than 14,000 policemen, commandos and paramilitary forces for security.

The festival is held once in every 12 years and it attracts a total of 100 million bathers in 55 days. However, the festival this year is called Maha Kumbh Mela and it comes once in every 144 years.

Separately, a stampede at a railway station near Allahabad city killed nearly 35 people after a footbridge at the station collapsed. Several males and females were among the dead, while many others injured.

There were different reports on number of casualties as senior railway official Harindra Rao claimed 10 deaths and only a dozen injured ones. Local television channel NDTV reported 22 deaths.

"People were taking rest on these railings and the railings could not take the load. The joints broke," a spokesman for the local Uttar Pradesh state, Ashok Sharma, told AFP.

However, Railways Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal rejected this as the reason, adding that overcrowding due to Kumbh Mela on the platforms may be the reason of the stampede.


From every corner of India and by every conceivable mode of transport, pilgrims are making their way to Prayag for the biggest celebration on the Hindu calendar. The Maha Kumbh Mela, is held only once every twelve years. Holly Williams reports how millions have already arrived creating a sea of humanity on the Ganges River

Hindu pilgrimage to the Ganges


Hindus plunged into the sacred waters of India's river Ganges on the most auspicious day of the world's largest religious festival.

Sadly, at least 36 people died in a stampede, according to reports, as pilgrims headed home from India's giant Kumbh Mela festival which drew a record 30 million people to the banks of the river Ganges

30 Million Pilgrims Take Holy Dip at India's Kumbh Mela


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