PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL
(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION)
Thousands of ascetics and devotees gathered at the banks of the holy Ganges river on Sunday (February 10) to wash away their sins at the Maha Kumbh Mela festival in northern India.
Scores descended into the river in the early morning hours braving the cold to take the "Shahi Snan" or royal bath to commemorate the sun and the moon entering the house of Capricorn and the day believed to be the anniversary of the creation of the universe according to the Hindu calendar.
The especially auspicious holy dip is held every 12 years and millions of pilgrims stream to Allahabad and the point where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers are said to meet a mythical third river.
Local authorities here are expecting close to 300 million pilgrims and ascetics who would go into the river in batches.
To cope with the flow of people, authorities in Uttar Pradesh have installed 35,000 toilets, laid 550 kilometres (340 miles) of water pipes and 155 kilometres (95 miles) of temporary roads at the riverbank site.
Millions bathe at a Hindu festival (0:46)
Feb. 10 - Devotees gather at the banks of the holy Ganges river to wash off their sins at a Hindu festival in northern India. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). ( Transcript )