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Nagas take an early morning swim on the banks of the Shipra River on an auspicious day for bathing during Kumbh Mela festival in Ujjain, India. After a dip in the river, they rub ashes on their naked bodies. The Kumbh Mela festival is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage held 4 times every 12 years, cycling between the cities of Allahabad, Nasik, Ujjain and Hardiwar. Participants of the Mela gather to cleanse themselves spiritually by bathing in the waters of India's sacred rivers. Kumbh Mela is one of the largest religious festivals on earth, attracting millions from all over India and the world. Past Melas have attracted up to 70 million visitors.

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© Peter Menzel www.menzelphoto.com
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Nagas take an early morning swim on the banks of the Shipra River on an auspicious day for bathing during Kumbh Mela festival in Ujjain, India. After a dip in the river, they rub ashes on their naked bodies. The Kumbh Mela festival is a sacred Hindu pilgrimage held 4 times every 12 years, cycling between the cities of Allahabad, Nasik, Ujjain and Hardiwar.  Participants of the Mela gather to cleanse themselves spiritually by bathing in the waters of India's sacred rivers.  Kumbh Mela is one of the largest religious festivals on earth, attracting millions from all over India and the world.  Past Melas have attracted up to 70 million visitors.