Lucknow: Millions of devotees took the holy dip in the Ganga and several other rivers across the state of Uttar Pradesh on the occasion of Kartik Purnima on Saturday.
Held 15 days after Diwali, the occasion is symbolic of the victory of light over darkness in commemoration of Lord Shiva's slaying of evil giant Tripurasur.
In Varanasi, all roads leading to the river banks scattered along the Ganga were choked as lakhs of devotees headed for the ghats to take the holy dip and offer prayers.
The authorities had to resort to blockading at several points in the city to streamline the movement of devotees and facilitating smooth movement of traffic.
Devotees had started making a beeline for the ghats a little after midnight on Friday and as the day broke the number of devotees swelled by the hour, causing traffic snarls all over the city.
In Ayodhya, lakhs of people began arriving even before dawn to take a dip in the Saryu and visit the hundreds of temples dotted the landscape of the pilgrim city.
In Allahabad, millions bathed at the Sangam and in the Yamuna, especially at the Daraganj river bank and near Mankameshwar temple. Similarly in Kanpur, a sea of humans bathed in the Ganga and worshipped Lord Vishnu.
In the western UP pilgrim city of Garhmukteshwar, more than 15 lakh devotees bathed in the Ganga amid chanting of 'har har gange' and 'jai ho ganga maiyya'. They also prayed for the souls of dead members of their families and participated in 'deepdaan'. Passing through Garhmukteshwar and the desert plains of Tigri, the Ganga attracted almost two million people from Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and other states. The massive turnout of people at the Tigri mela, spread along a stretch of 15km, kept the authorities on their toes. The entire event was monitored through CCTV cameras and drones.UNI