Prayagraj: On early Thursday morning, the Kumbh-world's largest religious event, commenced here with thousands of pilgrims took a holy bath in the cold waters of Sangam the occasion of Makarsankranti. The Sangam is the confluence of sacred river Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswation.

The 55-day-long Ardh Kumbh last took place in 2007. It is for the first in Prayagraj after the renaming of the district of Allahabad by the Yogi Adityanath government.                               

The holy bath for the Makarsakrant, began with the Shahi Snan (royal bath) at 0530 hrs. The authorities are expecting around 15 million to attend the first day of the Kumbh.

The royal procession of the 13 Akhara began well before 0500 hrs with sadhus, saints and the Mahamandeleshwar with Mahanirvanis talking the lead. Gilded chariots and palanquins carrying the Mahamandeleshwars of the respective Akhara were the cynosure of all eyes. Before the sunrise the periphery of Sangam was sparkling with lights of varied hues while scores of people at Ghats.

Enchanting scene were witnessed when pilgrims foreheads smeared with Holy ashes, Kumkum and Sandalwood paste performed Ganga Pujan after the taking a bath and gave alms to beggars and proceeded to various temples in the Mela area.

According to mythology, taking a bath in and around 20 km radius of Prayagraj on this day, is considered to be auspicious.

State director general of Police (DGP) O P Singh, who is personally monitoring the Kumbh told UNI that holy festival was commencing peaceful with no untoward incident reported.

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