A Hindu holy man rises from the waters where the Ganges and Yamuna rivers meet early on the morning of January 16 after bathing there as part of the Ardh Kumbh Mela, or Half Pitcher Festival.
The festival, India's largest religious gathering, lasts 45 days and commemorates a mythical battle between gods and demons over a pitcher of divine nectar. Several million Hindus take part in the ritual, which includes bathing in the river water to wash away sins.
This year thousands of holy men threatened to boycott the festival, saying the Ganges River is too polluted from human waste and factory discharge. According to the Associated Press, at least one devotee has threatened to commit ritual suicide if the government doesn't start cleaning the holy waters.