On Sunday, January 13, Hindu devotees gathered in Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh) to attend the Kumbh Mela, the world's largest religious festival. State authorities are expecting up to 12 million visitors in Allahabad for the centuries-old festival officially beginning on Tuesday, January 15, and continuing until early March. Thousands of security personnel will be deployed for the event.
Allahabad is located alongside the banks of the Ganges, Yamuna, and mythical Saraswati rivers. The meeting point of the three rivers is considered highly sacred for hindus, who believe for centuries that bathing there during the Kumbh Mela festival helps to cleanse sins and free the soul from the cycle of death and rebirth. The Kumbh Mela is traditionally held every three years in one of the four cities along India's sacred rivers.
Individuals in Uttar Pradesh over the following two months are advised to anticipate crowded conditions, an increase in criminal acitivities (petty crime), as well as significant disruptions to daily life, including transportation, accommodation, and business disruptions.
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