10 February 2013
Last updated at 00:22
The Great Kumbh Mela Hindu festival in Allahabad reaches its climax with millions gathering along the Ganges for the most auspicious bathing day on Sunday.
Pilgrims and holy men from all castes and creeds gather to bathe in the holy waters. These former scavenger women travelled to the festival with an NGO.
Bathers enter the water from the shore or go out on boats to the Sangam - the confluence of the Ganges and the Yamuna rivers - and the mythical Saraswati.
Cloths and clothes are dried on the river bank after taking a holy dip - believed to cleanse sins.
Holy men, or sadhus, process from their camps to the riverside throughout the 55-day festival.
These Hindu holy men take part in a ritual that they believe rids them of worldly ties. They dedicate themselves to God to serve as a Naga or naked Sadhu.
New sadhus are initiated and older ones return for another Maha, or Great, Kumbh Mela - which is held every 12 years. The Naga Sadhus, with their matted hair and ash-smeared bodies, are one of the most revered holy sects.
More than 100 million people are expected to pass through the festival, living for some or all of the time in the giant camp site that is erected on the delta flats.
Hundreds of shops have opened in the tented areas selling everything from clothes, carpets and condiments to footwear and fast food - a great boost to the local economy.
But with so many people, it is easy to get separated from friends and relatives. Volunteers at the lost persons camp try to reunite the unlucky ones.
Foreigners join the ranks of worshippers being blessed by the holy men. Yoga gurus have also set up camps on the river banks, attracting devotees from home and abroad.
And everyone has to eat - community feasts are held to feed the holy men and followers at the site.