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A sadhu blows into a conch shell as he stands in the Godavari river on the first day of the Kumbh Mela at Nashik on July 20.


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The Mela

After 12 years, the Sinhastha Kumbh Mela returned to Nashik.

Millions of pilgrims descended on Nashik and Trimbakeshwar for the festival that began on July 30. The main festival came to an end on September 7 with the final shahi snan, or royal bath, at Trimbakeshwar, but the Kumbh Mela period will continue till August 2004.

The festival had its share of tragedy when, on August 27, in the course of another shahi snan, a stampede broke out early in the morning on the banks of the Godavari and 39 people were killed.

Text: Rajeev D Pai

Kumbh Mela 2003

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