In Photos: India's Holy Men Wash Away Their Sins

It is billed as the biggest gathering in the world. Every three years, millions of Hindus come together to bathe in a sacred river to wash away their sins. 

The Kumbh Mela festival, which rotates between four different holy sites in India, is taking place over two months this year in the city of Nashik in the state of Maharashtra. Its name, which means "Pitcher Festival," comes from a Hindu myth about an epic battle in which gods and demons fought for nectar that would grant them immortality. The gods won — but during the ruckus, drops of the nectar spilled from the pitcher that was holding it, onto the four different locations which now host the festival.

Many of those attending are sadhus, Hindu holy men who have eschewed the modern world and material comforts for a life of penance and worship. They must cut ties with their homes and families, even performing their own...

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