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Special class of ascetics take part in ceremonies at Allahabad Maha Kumbh

Allahabad, Jan.12 (ANI): The Maha Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, is seeing the participation of a special class of ascetics known as Jangams in holy ceremonies.

The Jangams are a special class of Hindu ascetics who are not celibates and have families of their own.

Throughout the ceremonies, they are seen wearing special headgears made of peacock feathers and play instruments while singing devotional songs dedicated to Lord Shiva.

“In older days, whenever some great sacrifice was being performed, then the priests were afraid to take up the role of Lord Shiva. So Shiva produced the Jangams from his thighs. They come here to the Kumbha Mela and help us in our religious rites by taking part in them on behalf of us,” said Anant Ram Dev, an ascetic who explained the importance of the Jangams in their ceremonies.

Throughout the fair, the Jangams gather around the various rituals and ceremonies that are performed and sing religious hymns dedicated to Shiva.

“We gather here and sing all the devotional songs for them. We act as their priests in the ceremonies,” said Achyutanand Brahmachari, a Jangam ascetic at the Kumbh Mela.

The eight-week-long festival begins on January 14 and ends on March 10.

During this period, devotees bathe at the Sangam-the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers – to cleanse themselves of their sins.

The festival, which dates back thousands of years, is celebrated once every 12 years, with lesser festivals held at stages in between.

Allahabad is one of four places where Garuda, the winged steed of Hindu god Vishnu, is said to have rested during a battle with demons over a pitcher of divine nectar of immortality. Garuda’s flight lasted 12 divine days, or 12 years of mortal time, hence the celebration of ‘Kumbh Mela’ every 12 years. (ANI)