Thousands gather for Magh Purnima holy dip at dawn in Prayagraj, India
Large crowds of devotees gathered at Prayagraj in India for the Hindu festival of Magha Purnima on Sunday 5 February. The gathering, also called Maghi Purnima, draws thousands to Sangam, the confluence of the rivers Yamuna, Ganges, and the mythical Saraswati (or Sarasvati) in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. It is considered a particularly holy day for bathing in the rivers. Bathers took their holy dip before sunrise, some even at midnight. Devotees prayed to the rising sun, after which they began to fast for the rest of the day. Magha Purnima has great importance in Hinduism, in which bathing, worship and charity done on that day is especially auspicious. In Hindu scriptures, the full moon of Magh month is considered very fruitful. It is said that on this day all the gods and goddesses come to earth with gold and bathe in the Ganges, hence why there is a ritual to bathe in the Ganges or any holy river on this day.