January 14, 2010 on Al-Jazeera English
Thousands of Hindu pilgrims have braved a winter chill by taking a dip in the Ganges River.
The ritual, which is celebrated every three years and rotates to four different Indian cities, carries one of the world's largest religious congregations.
In the first part of the Kumbh Mela or Pitcher Festival, Hindus gather in the city of Haridwar, located in the northern Himalayas.
They believe the ritual bath washes away all sins and more than 50 million devotees from India and abroad are expected to arrive for a spiritual cleansing over the next few weeks.