Devotees across north India take holy dip in sacred rivers on occasion of Kartik Purnima
Devout Hindus across north India took a holy dip and offered prayers in the sacred rivers on the occasion of Kartik Purnima on Wednesday.
A large number of devotees converged on the banks of Sangam, the confluence of Rivers Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati to take a holy dip in Allahabad.
A priest, Bholanath Mishra, said: "This marks the beginning of taking holy dip in the River Yamuna and the Purnima is dedicated to Lord Vishnu, that is why large number of devotees bathe in the holy river."
On the eve of Kartik Purnima, the pilgrims camp by the riverside. In the evening, pilgrims and local people decorate the entire riverbank with tiny earthen lamps.
Crowd of devotees also thronged the holy city of Haridwar in India's northern Uttarakhand state to take dip in the holy river Ganges.
A dip in river Ganges at Haridwar is considered auspicious.
A devotee from Rajasthan, Ram Sharma, said that bathing in the sacred river helps to wash away their sins.
"This day is significant and if you bathe in the holy river in Haridwar then all your sins will be washed away. We also pray for our forefathers. We also pray for the salvation of their soul," said Sharma.
Legend has it that the city of Haridwar, which literally means 'Gateway to Gods', located at the foothills of Himalayas, is one of four places where the nectar of immortality fell to earth after spilling out of a pitcher during an epic battle between the gods and the demons.
The Ganga Aarti is an important event and takes place in the evening. Almost all banks organise their own ceremony. Huge lamps are set ablaze and the priest holds forth the lamp as the multitude chants the hymns.
A priest, Bharat Pandey, in temple town of Varanasi, said: "Taking a bathe in the holy river is significant for this who are unable to take holy dip during the holy month. Devotees take bathe on Kartik Purnima (full moon day). In the evening, the festival of lights (Dev Deepavali) is celebrated."
Celebrated on the occasion of Kartik Purnima (full moon day), Dev Deepavali holds as much importance as Diwali does to the religious minded people in Varanasi.
Legend has it Lord Shiva had killed a demon king Bipurasur on this day and Gods celebrated the victory. It is believed that the gods descended on earth and celebrated Dev Deepavali.