Allahabad/Varansi/Haridwar, Jan 14 (ANI): Thousands of Hindu devotees in took a holy dip in the River Ganges on Saturday to mark the start of the Makar Sankranti festival.
Devotees in Allahabad city were seen performing various rituals along the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna rivers, also known as the 'sangam', in the early hours of the morning.
Hindus believe taking a dip in the Ganga, considered sacred across large parts of India, cleanses them of their sins and quickens the way to the attainment of nirvana.
Similar scenes of ritualistic bathing were also witnessed in the temple town Varanasi as devotees clamoured to the banks of the river.
"On the occasion of Makar Sankranti, we take a holy bath in the river. I have come with my family members. It is believed that God grants the wishes of the person who takes a dip on this auspicious day," said Kaushal, a devotee.
In Haridwar, devotees braved chilly conditions to bathe in the icy waters of the river.
Tight security was in place in the town, believed to be one of four spots where Garuda, the winged steed of Hindu god Vishnu, rested during a battle with demons over a pitcher of the divine nectar of immortality.
Makar Sankranti marks the entry of the sun in Capricorn.
The festival also heralds the onset of spring.
Makar Sankranti is also known as Khichadi or Til Sankranti in parts of northern India and is celebrated by distributing grains to the poor. (ANI)
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