PRAYAGRAJ, INDIA, March 5, 2019 (Financial Express): Even before midnight, devotees from different walks of life and parts of the country began to pour into Sangam city to take holy dip on Mahashivratri, the great night of Lord Shiva and the last bathing day in the one-and-a-half-month-long Kumbh Mela. Till Monday evening, more than 10 million devotees had taken a holy dip in the Sangam area, officials said. The bathing ghats brimmed with colour in the morning. Late-night showers in parts of the holy city failed to dampen the spirit of the pilgrims. As the sun came out, devotees enthusiastically greeted the sun, while some offered obeisance to the Sun God with traditional yoga asanas.
"Till evening, as many as 11 million devotees have taken a dip in the Sangam area. With Mahashivratri's snaan, so far more than 240 million devotees have taken a dip during this year's Kumbh," Kumbh Mela Adhikari Vijay Kiran Anand told PTI. Till March 3, the number of devotees who had taken the dip during the Kumbh stood at 230 million, an UP government official said. According to Hindu mythology, Mahashivratri symbolises the last holy bath of Kalpvasis, who spend the month of Magh -- the period of austerity -- in minimal means. Ashutosh Varshney, an astrologer who has set up a camp in Sector-6 of Kumbh Nagri, said, "Mahashivratri marks the culmination of the Kumbh and the prominent bathing days. This year, it fell on a Monday, the day dedicated to Lord Shiva, after a long time." Kumbh is the largest religious gatherings in the world. It is held once in every 12 years.