ALLAHABAD, INDIA, March 9, 2013 (Raw Story): A record 120 million pilgrims washed away their sins with plunges in an Indian holy river during the world’s biggest religious festival set to end Sunday, officials said. The two-month-long Kumbh Mela Hindu festival celebrated every 12 years at the conjunction of two sacred rivers on the outskirts of the northern Indian city of Allahabad drew massive crowds of Hindu devotees, ascetics and foreign tourists.
“Over 60 million people attended the festival in 2001 and this time we believe 120 million people have participated,” festival chief Mani Prasad Mishra told AFP late on Saturday. He said the job of dismantling the infrastructure that sprawled over 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares) to house the pilgrims had already begun. “We built a tent city to celebrate the Kumbh Mela and now we are tearing it down,” he said.