The Hindu festival called the Kumbh Mela caused approximately 30 million pilgrims to show up at the shores of the Ganges and her sister rivers for their religious dip on Feb. 10. According to the Associated Press (AP) by way of Yahoo! on Feb. 11, this year's ritual in India could well be the largest gathering of its kind in world history.
Unfortunately, because of the rush of so many people in one place at the same time, a deadly stampede took place in which 37 people were trampled to their death when these pilgrims hurried to cram into trains that would return them home.
The AP report said, "People thronged to the main hospital in Allahabad to see if their relatives were among 37 dead and 39 people injured in Sunday evening's stampede at the city's train station."
The source continued by describing the scene, saying that "tens of thousands...were in the station waiting to board a train when railway officials announced a last-minute change in the platform, triggering the chaos."
Hindu devotees from all over the world had rejoiced in the Kumbh Mela on its busiest day, a tradition these religious followers have practiced for thousands of years. However, this time the mass celebration swelled to numbers not ever experienced.
In total, this Hindu pilgrimage takes place over a period of 55 days but this past Sunday was the prime day to bathe at the Sangam, which is the meeting point of the Ganges, the Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati rivers. The reason for the massive crowd is because Hindus consider this the exact time when special powers from this mighty river confluence are at their strongest.
Hindu belief dictates that taking a dip here during Kumbh Mela will shed sins and those who partake will escape reincarnation. Sadly, with so many believers wanting in on the action, the Hindu festival stampede that took place after the bathing was done and while leaving by train, 37 people dies with families scrambling to see if their loved ones were among those who were either gone or injured from the incident.