As India counted another record rise in coronavirus cases on Monday, hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims joined a river-bathing ritual during the Kumbh festival in the hill town of Haridwar.
There were fears that the month-long festival could turn into a super spreader event.
The positivity rate of random tests is rising at the festival and as many as 300 cases have been detected in Haridwar over the past week, festival health officer Arjun Singh Sengar told dpa.
The pilgrims led by ash-smeared ascetics and gurus from across India thronged the bathing ghats of Haridwar on an auspicious “shahi snan” (main bathing) day of the Kumbh festival, billed as the largest religious gathering on Earth.
By evening Monday, more than 2 million people had taken a dip in the river, an official at the police control room said.
According to Hindu mythology, as gods and demons fought over a pitcher (kumbh) of amrita (nectar of immortality), a few…