Amidst tight security, lakhs of devotees on Friday thronged the confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical river Saraswati here today to take a holy dip on the auspicious occasion of Makar Sankranti.

Devotees began pouring in at the holy Sangam where the annual religious congregation of Magh Mela is also underway since the crack of dawn.

According to officials, nearly eight lakh devotees had taken a holy dip till 2 p.m. and the number may reach a million by sunset when the ritual bathing for the day gets over.

No untoward incident was reported during the bathing festival so far. Trained divers have been deployed at the holy confluence as well as at the Ghats along the two rivers to deal with any eventuality.

Stringent security measures are in place at Magh Mela area where CCTV cameras have been installed at various points and local police, Provincial Armed Constabulary and U.P. Anti- Terrorism Squad are keeping a round-the-clock vigil.

However, the month-long ritual of ‘kalpavaas’ during which devotees live in tent houses near the Sangam and observe various austerities will begin on January 19, coinciding with ’paush poornima’ -- the full moon day of the Hindu calendar month ‘paush’

Usually, ‘paush poornima’ precedes Makar Sankranti.

Long queues of devotees were seen outside various temples situated in the vicinity of the Sangam and near the banks of Ganga and Yamuna.

Items made of ‘til’ (sesame) and jaggery did brisk business as consumption of eatables made from these on this day is considered auspicious.

As per Hindu traditions, the sun enters the tropic of Capricorn, known as ‘makar rekha’ in Sanskrit, from ‘dhanu rekha’ (tropic of Sagittarius) on this day and hence the festival is termed ‘Makar Sankranti’.

Keywords: Makar Sankranti