Hindus Hold Mass Ganges Pilgrimage Despite Virus Crisis

Published January 14th, 2021 - 08:47 GMT

Hindu pilgrims gathered at the Ganges river in India, Thursday, despite Covid-19 pandemic to mark the Kumbh Mela, a religious festival that regularly attracts millions.

India is now struggling with a massive coronavirus outbreak, as it is now the second most coronavirus infections in the world, with over 150,000 deaths. However, Hindus decided to carry out the annual pilgrimage to Haridwar in northern India.

"The pandemic is a bit of a worry, but we are taking all precautions," according to the organiser Siddharth Chakrapani, who expected between 800,000 and a million people to attend on Thursday alone.

Hindu mythology believes that gods and demons have conducted a war over a sacred pitcher containing the nectar of immortality.

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Hindu devotees arrive to take a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, during the annual 'Magh Mela' festival in Allahabad on January 14, 2021. Sanjay KANOJIA / AFP

Hindu devotees arrive to take a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, during the annual 'Magh Mela' festival in Allahabad on January 14, 2021. Sanjay KANOJIA / AFP

A Sadhu or a Hindu holyman takes a dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

A Sadhu or a Hindu holyman takes a dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

A Hindu pilgrim holds a picture of herself with late husband as she takes a holy dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

A Hindu pilgrim holds a picture of herself with late husband as she takes a holy dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

Hindu pilgrims pray after taking a holy dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

Hindu pilgrims pray after taking a holy dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

Facemasks of Hindu pilgrims kept for drying are pictured at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

Facemasks of Hindu pilgrims kept for drying are pictured at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

Members of local village panchayat wearing face shields and masks inspect the sanitization on the beach as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus as Hindu pilgrims perform rituals at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

Members of local village panchayat wearing face shields and masks inspect the sanitization on the beach as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus as Hindu pilgrims perform rituals at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

Members of local village panchayat wearing face shields and masks inspect the sanitization on the beach as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

Members of local village panchayat wearing face shields and masks inspect the sanitization on the beach as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

Hindu pilgrims offer prayers at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

Hindu pilgrims offer prayers at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP

A Hindu devotee prepares to take a holy dip in the waters of river Ganges during Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, on the first day of the religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on January 14, 2021. Money SHARMA / AFP

A Hindu devotee prepares to take a holy dip in the waters of river Ganges during Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, on the first day of the religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on January 14, 2021. Money SHARMA / AFP

Hindu devotees arrive to take a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, during the annual 'Magh Mela' festival in Allahabad on January 14, 2021. Sanjay KANOJIA / AFP
A Sadhu or a Hindu holyman takes a dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
A Hindu pilgrim holds a picture of herself with late husband as she takes a holy dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Hindu pilgrims pray after taking a holy dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Facemasks of Hindu pilgrims kept for drying are pictured at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Members of local village panchayat wearing face shields and masks inspect the sanitization on the beach as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus as Hindu pilgrims perform rituals at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Members of local village panchayat wearing face shields and masks inspect the sanitization on the beach as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Hindu pilgrims offer prayers at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
A Hindu devotee prepares to take a holy dip in the waters of river Ganges during Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, on the first day of the religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on January 14, 2021. Money SHARMA / AFP
Hindu devotees arrive to take a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, during the annual 'Magh Mela' festival in Allahabad on January 14, 2021. Sanjay KANOJIA / AFP
Hindu devotees arrive to take a holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, during the annual 'Magh Mela' festival in Allahabad on January 14, 2021. Sanjay KANOJIA / AFP
A Sadhu or a Hindu holyman takes a dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
A Sadhu or a Hindu holyman takes a dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
A Hindu pilgrim holds a picture of herself with late husband as she takes a holy dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
A Hindu pilgrim holds a picture of herself with late husband as she takes a holy dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Hindu pilgrims pray after taking a holy dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Hindu pilgrims pray after taking a holy dip at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Facemasks of Hindu pilgrims kept for drying are pictured at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Facemasks of Hindu pilgrims kept for drying are pictured at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Members of local village panchayat wearing face shields and masks inspect the sanitization on the beach as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus as Hindu pilgrims perform rituals at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Members of local village panchayat wearing face shields and masks inspect the sanitization on the beach as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus as Hindu pilgrims perform rituals at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Members of local village panchayat wearing face shields and masks inspect the sanitization on the beach as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Members of local village panchayat wearing face shields and masks inspect the sanitization on the beach as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Hindu pilgrims offer prayers at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
Hindu pilgrims offer prayers at the confluence of Ganges and the Bay of Bengal during the Gangasagar Mela on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, at Sagar Island, around 150 kms south of Kolkata on January 14, 2021. Dibyangshu SARKAR / AFP
A Hindu devotee prepares to take a holy dip in the waters of river Ganges during Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, on the first day of the religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on January 14, 2021. Money SHARMA / AFP
A Hindu devotee prepares to take a holy dip in the waters of river Ganges during Makar Sankranti, a day considered to be of great religious significance in Hindu mythology, on the first day of the religious Kumbh Mela festival in Haridwar on January 14, 2021. Money SHARMA / AFP