Allahabad: Braving chilly weather, thousands of people visited the confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati here on Tuesday for a holy dip on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.
The devotees had to walk on foot for a long distance due to traffic and security restrictions.
Entry of vehicles was restricted in the sprawling area around the "Sangam", the name by which the confluence is popularly known, as a heavy turnout is expected in view of the festival as well as the annual month-long religious congregation "Magh Mela" which is underway.
Nearly 5000 police personnel are keeping a round-the-clock vigil under the supervision of two officers of the Additional SP rank and six Deputy SPs, officials said.
Nineteen CCTVs have been installed at the Sangam all of which have been linked to the police control room.
During the Magh Mela, pilgrims spend a month along the banks of the river Ganga, living in cottages and observing rituals like taking a dip every morning and evening, sleeping on the floor and taking not more than one meal a day.
The administration has set up two 20-bed make-shift hospitals in addition to 11 primary health centres to take care of the health needs of people. A total of 22 ambulances have also been pressed into service.
Long queues of devotees were seen outside temples as people gathered to offer prayers after a holy dip.
Vendors selling goods made of sesame and jaggery did brisk business as the consumption of these is considered auspicious on `Makar Sankranti`.
Many outfits also organised community kitchens where poor people were offered `Khichdi`.