Allahabad: Over three crore devotees led by ascetics of Hindu sects on Sunday took a holy dip at Sangam on `Mauni Amavasya`, considered the most auspicious day of bathing during the 12-yearly Kumbh congregation here.
"As per our estimates, three crore people have taken a holy dip till 3 PM. The influx of visitors has slowed down a bit since then but the turn-out has already exceeded our expectations," Kumbh Mela Officer Mani Prasad Mishra told PTI.
"No untoward incident has been reported from any part of the Kumbh area so far," he said.
The sprawling city of tents, spread across 6,000 acres, may have briefly become the most populous place in the world on account of this unusually high turnout.
A sea of devotees kept surging towards the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati throughout the day, while the 13 `akharas` took out their processions for the second `Shahi Snan` during the Maha Kumbh.
Amid chants of `Har Har Gange`, devotees including a fair sprinkling of foreigners, watched awestruck as `naga sadhus` with their matted hair, ash-smeared naked bodies adorned with garlands of marigold and `rudraksh` moved in processions with their `Shri Mahants` and `Mahamandaleshwars` perched atop decorated chariots, horses and elephants.
In fact, the ritual of bathing started from yesterday afternoon itself when `Mauni Amavasya` began according to the Hindu almanac and reached its crescendo this morning.
A steady stream of devotees was seen at railway stations and bus stations where people from nearby as well as far-off places took to roads and pathways all of which seemed to be leading towards the Sangam on this day.