About half a million Hindu pilgrims plunged into the river waters of the Ganges Delta on Sunday(January 14) during the annual holy day festival of 'Maker Sankranti'.
GV PAN MVs & SVs Pilgrims crossing bridge(6 shots)
SV Man having head shaved
GVs Pilgrims bathing in river (3 shots)
MV & SV Brahmin conducting ritual in water (2 shots)
SV, MV People dipping in river (2 shots)
SV Man raying in water
SV Women moving rhythmically
MV & CU PAN Holy sages(2 shots)
MV PAN Pilgrims walking through mud
SV PULL OUT TO MV Hindu holding tail of sacred cow
Initials SGM/0054 SGM/0109
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Background: About half a million Hindu pilgrims plunged into the river waters of the Ganges Delta on Sunday(January 14) during the annual holy day festival of 'Maker Sankranti'. In the festival, rituals involving worship of sacred cows take place before communal dips into the river -- which was brought down to earth, according to Hindu belief, by the last survivor among sixty thousand brothers who were turned into ashes. Devout Hindus are required to take part in Maker Sankranti at least once in their lifetime.
SYNOPSIS: About half a million Hindu pilgrims have been taking part in the annual holy day festival of Makar Sankranti at the mouth of the river Ganges in India. The festival, which this year fell on Sunday, includes rituals involving the shaving of heads; worshipping of sacred cows; and communal dips in the Ganges.
According to Hindu beliefs, the Ganges was formed after sixty thousand brothers had been turned into ashes by an angry sage. One surviving brother is said to have brought the river down to earth to save the lives of the others, and today a part of the river is named the 'Bhagirathi' after him.
The large numbers of pilgrims this year have created a problem for health authorities, however. Lack of sanitation and proper accommodation have caused over a thousand cases of gastro-enteritis -- a stomach upset -- and a few attacks of cholera and smallpox. Casualties were treated in field hospitals, and by Sunday police were trying to limit the numbers of pilgrims arriving.