30 Stunning Photos Of The Great Kumbh Mela Festival

The largest religious gathering in the world begins on Jan. 14 in Allahabad, India. The Great Kumbh Mela occurs every 12 years and up to 100 million pilgrims are expected to bathe in the holy waters of the river Ganges during the 55-day event.

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Getty Images

A devotee prays while others take a dip at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, at day break.

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Getty Images

Newly arrived Hindu devotees pause to look at the vast grounds which will receive the millions of Hindus that will congregate here.

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Getty Images

A Sadhu, or holy man, walks with his earthly posessions on the vast grounds which will receive the millions of Hindu devotees that will congregate during Jan. and Feb.

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Manish Swarup / AP

Hindu devotees cross a makeshift bridge over the river Ganges as they arrive at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati.

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Kevin Frayer / AP

A Sadhu holds his bag on his head as he arrives at Sangam.

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Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images

Hindu devotees carry their posessions as they walk towards the banks of the holy Ganges river.

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Manish Swarup / AP

A woman arrives at Sangam carrying her goods.

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Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images

A Hindu devotee gives a donation to Sadhus on the banks of the Ganges river.

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Getty Images

A boy reacts to other devotees as his family pour water over his head at the waters edge at the Sangam. Worshippers believe a dip in the holy waters cleanses them of their sins.

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Getty Images

A devotee has river water poured over his head at the waters edge at the Sangam.

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Rajesh Kumar Singh / AP

An Indian Hindu holy man puts vermilion paste after taking a dip at Sangam.

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Getty Images

Devotees light a candle on an offering at the waters edge after having taken a dip at the Sangam.

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Getty Images

Devotees pray while taking a dip at the Sangham.

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Getty Images

Sadhus walk past a sand decoration after performing a ritual prayer at the water’s edge at the Sangham.

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Getty Images

A Devotee smeared with ash prays at the waters edge before taking a dip at the Sangham.

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Getty Images

Male devotees hold long stripes of clothing used to wrap themselves while bathing called Dhothis after they took a dip at the Sangham.

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Kevin Frayer / AP

Indian Hindu women dry saris after taking a bath at Sangam.

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Getty Images

Devotees crowd the edge of the Sangham or confluence of the Yamuna and Ganges river at day break.

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Kevin Frayer / AP

An Indian Hindu holy man, or Sadhu, blows a conch or horn before taking a bath at Sangam.

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Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images

A Sadhu pours water from a conch shell as he prays on the banks of the holy Ganges river, while another Sadhu takes a photo of the river.

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Getty Images

Sadhus, or holy men, take a dip at the Sangham.

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Daniel Berehulak / Getty Images

A Sadhu blows a conch shell as other Sadhus bathe on the banks of the Ganges river.

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Kevin Frayer / AP

A Sadhu dries his hair after taking a bath at Sangam.

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ROBERTO SCHMIDT / Getty Images

Devotees dance in celebration after having taken a dip at the Sangam.

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Kevin Frayer / AP

Indian Hindu pilgrims, some with shaved heads, take a dip at Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati.

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Kevin Frayer / AP

An Indian Hindu woman dries saris after taking a bath at Sangam.

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Kevin Frayer / AP

A Sadhu takes a bath at Sangam.

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Rajesh Kumar Singh / AP

A Hindu holy man drinks the river Ganges’ water at Sangam.

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Rajesh Kumar Singh / AP

A naked Hindu holy men, or a Naga Sadhu, performs a ritual at Sangam.

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Kevin Frayer / AP

A Sadhu walks before taking a bath at Sangam.

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