Final preparations have begun for the Indian festival of Maha Kumbh 2013, which starts on January 14.
The Maha Kumbh takes place at the intersection of the Yamuna and Ganga rivers, known as the Sangam in Allahabad.
Anyone taking trekking holidays in the area can expect to experience a unique atmosphere during the two months of the holy gathering as huge numbers of people gather on the riverbanks.
Members of the Juna Akahada, Agni and Avahan Akahadas - or sects - entered the Mela premises near the Sangam on Tuesday as the big date moves ever closer.
Shivanand Giri Maharaj and Avdheshanand Giri were seated on silver thrones on horse chariots as they led members of the Juna Akhada on the procession, which danced to religious songs and played drums as they headed towards the crowded mela area.
The Juna Akahada is given the leading role as it is said to be the oldest of the 13 sects in the world of saints.
Flowers were thrown from houses as the procession made its way to the mela premises, where the akahadas propitiated their gods before offering 'prasad' of curd and khichdi.
Other akhadas will make the procession in the coming weeks during the lead-up to the official start of the congregation on January 14.
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