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AP PHOTOS: Hindus in India and Nepal mark auspicious day

A Hindu holy man offers prayers after taking ritualistic dips at "Sangam," the meeting point of Indian holy rivers the Ganges and the Yamuna, on the auspicious day of "Paush Purnima" during the annual traditional fair of Magh Mela in Allahabad, India, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. Hundreds of thousands of devout Hindus are expected to take holy dips at the confluence during the astronomically auspicious period of over 45 days celebrated as Magh Mela.

Tue, 02 Jan 2018 19:44:11 -0500

ALLAHABAD, India (AP) — Some 200,000 Hindu pilgrims arrived at the confluence of two major Indian rivers Tuesday on the first major bathing day of a 45-day annual ritual known as the Magh Mela.

Many stay in makeshift houses or tents in the northern city of Allahabad, where the Yamuna river meets the Ganges as well as the mythical Saraswati river. Hundreds of thousands of Hindus are expected to take a dip in the holy waters on astronomically auspicious days.

In neighboring Nepal, Hindus offered prayers along the banks of the Hanumante river as the monthlong Madhav Narayan festival started in the city of Bhaktapur. Devotees recite holy scriptures, and women fast for a month to pray for the longevity of their husbands.

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