Over 15 lakh pilgrims, including sadhus and seers, on Tuesday took a holy dip in the Ganga on the occasion of third royal bath of the ongoing Mahakumbh here.

Sadhus and seers, belonging to 7 ‘Shaiv akharas’ (Hindu orders)-Juna, Niranjani, Atal, Aahwan, Anand, Mahanirvani and Agni-were the first to take bath at Brahmkund area of Har-Ki-Pauri, the main bathing ghat, on Chaitra Purnima, which has been declared for the first time as an occasion for royal bath.

They were followed by sadhus belonging to ‘Bairagi (Vaishnav) akharas’ of Nirmohi Ani, Digambar Ani and Nirwani Ani, who reached the Har-Ki-Pauri in the form of a procession.

Thousands of sadhus, including Khalsa, Dakor and Ramanandacharyas attended the procession, which was led by Mahant Gyan Das, President of Akil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad.

Lakhs of devotees were seen standing on both sides of the road with folded hands braving the scorching Sun to witness the procession.

Other bathing ghats of Haridwar and Rishikesh were also seen flooded with pilgrims since early morning.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the royal bath, official sources said here.

This is the third royal bath of the ongoing Mahakumbh mela that began on January 14, with Makar Sankranti.

Eleven major baths, including 4 royal baths, were scheduled during the Mahakumbh. The fourth and the last royal bath would be held on April 14.