Millions of people have joined a 45-day Hindu bathing festival in the northern Indian city of Prayagraj, where devotees gather to take a dip in Sangam, the sacred confluence of several rivers. There, they bathe on certain days considered to be auspicious in the belief, in a ritual believed to cleanse sins.
A Hindu priest prepares vermillion paste for pilgrims at Sangam during Magh Mela festival, in Prayagraj, India, Feb. 19, 2021.
The festival is being held even though COVID-19 cases in some parts of the country are rising after months of steady decline. India has confirmed 11 million cases and over 150,000 deaths.
A health worker takes nasal swab samples of Hindu holy men, to test for COVID-19 next to a poster of the Hindu god Hanuman, Feb. 24, 2021.