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Early on Friday morning, the month-long Simhastha Kumbh Mela began in Ujjain, which is the largest gathering of Hindus in the world. Held every 12 years in this holy city, people, saints and seers come from all over the country to pay their respects to Lord Mahakaleshwar, one of the 12 Jyotirlingas in the country, and bathe in the consecrated waters of River Kshipra.

Ascetics gather on Day 1 of the month-long Simhastha Kumbh Mela 2016, held every 12 years in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh (Photo: IANS)

Ascetics gather on Day 1 of the month-long Simhastha Kumbh Mela 2016, held every 12 years in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh (Photo: IANS)

Ascetics bathe on the banks of River Kshipra during the Simhastha Kumbh Mela 2016, in Ujjain (Photo: IANS)

Ascetics bathe on the banks of River Kshipra during the Simhastha Kumbh Mela 2016, in Ujjain (Photo: IANS)

A holy man displays his hair after taking a dip in the River Kshipra during the Simhastha Kumbh Mela 2016, in Ujjain. (Photo: Reuters)

A holy man displays his hair after taking a dip in the River Kshipra during the Simhastha Kumbh Mela 2016, in Ujjain. (Photo: Reuters)

A saint looks on as another holds a trident during the Simhastha Kumbh Mela on Friday in Ujjain, home to the abode of Lord Mahakaleshwar. (Photo: Reuters)

A saint looks on as another holds a trident during the Simhastha Kumbh Mela on Friday in Ujjain, home to the abode of Lord Mahakaleshwar. (Photo: Reuters)

A Hindu pilgrim takes a dip in the River Kshipra, with his disabled friend on his back during the 2016 Kumbh Mela in Ujjain. (Photo: Reuters)

A Hindu pilgrim takes a dip in the River Kshipra, with his disabled friend on his back during the 2016 Kumbh Mela in Ujjain. (Photo: Reuters)

A Hindu devotee raises his hand in prayer to rid him of his sins, as he bathes in the holy waters of River Kshipra at the Simhastha Kumbh Mela, on Friday. (Photo: Reuters)

A Hindu devotee raises his hand in prayer to rid him of his sins, as he bathes in the holy waters of River Kshipra at the Simhastha Kumbh Mela, on Friday. (Photo: Reuters)

 

A foreign devotee bathes in River Kshipra during the inaugural royal bath at the Simhastha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain. (Photo: PTI)

A foreign devotee bathes in River Kshipra during the inaugural royal bath at the Simhastha Kumbh Mela in Ujjain. (Photo: PTI)

An aerial view of the gathering of HIndu devotees on the banks of River Kshipra. (Photo: PTI)

An aerial view of the gathering of HIndu devotees on the banks of River Kshipra. (Photo: PTI)

Naga Sadhus announce their arrival on the first day of the month-long Kumbh Mela in Ujjain. (Photo: PTI) 

Naga Sadhus announce their arrival on the first day of the month-long Kumbh Mela in Ujjain. (Photo: PTI)

The expected footfall for the Mela is over 5 crore, including seers, for which elaborate security, logistical and “green” arrangements have been made by Madhya Pradhesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

 

Source: In Photos: Devotees Gather At Simhastha Kumbh Mela 2016 in Ujjain – The Quint