Countdown for the upcoming Maha Kumbh congregation here began on Tuesday, with thousands of Naga sadhus, revered for their austerity and feared for their quick temper, marching in a majestic procession to their camps in the vicinity of the holy confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. More than 5,000 scantily-clad Naga sadhus made their entry into the sprawling Kumbh Mela on the first day of ‘Peshwai’ — the name by which the ceremonial entry of ascetics is popularly known.

The procession, which included dozens of beautifully decorated horses and elephants and musical bands playing devotional tunes, commenced at Maujagiri Ashram situated in Keedganj locality here and traversed a distance of about three kilometres to reach the assigned camps near the holy Sangam.

The Maha Kumbh Mela, which is held here every 12 years, will officially begin on January 14 and conclude on Maha Shivaratri on March 10.

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