Kumbh Mela
Newly initiated Naga Sadhus or Hindu holy men of the Juna Akhara attend Dikasha, a ritual on the banks of the river Ganges, during the ongoing "Kumbh Mela", or Pitcher Festival, in the northern Indian city of AllahabadReuters

Maha Kumbh Mela 2013 has been marred by a series of tragedies that have taken place since it began on Jan 14, killing at least 42 people in four separate incidents.

A fire broke out in the wee hours of Friday at the Kumbh Mela venue in Allahabad, killing one person and injuring two others besides destroying at least 30 make-shift tents set up for the pilgrims.


"An unidentified person was killed in the fire that broke out in Sector 4 of the Kumbh Mela area early this morning. Two persons sustained minor injuries while the fire was brought under control quickly, though about 10 tents were gutted by the time," SSP (Kumbh) RKS Rathore told PTI.

Earlier, a fire broke out at the Mela venue on Jan 25, killing five people and injuring 19 others. A stamped at Allahabad railway station killed 36 people and injured scores of others on Feb 10, as millions of devotees throng the 40,000 people capacity station to head for the Mauni Amavasya, considered to be the most auspicious day of the mela. Two more people died in another stampede incident that happened on the same day.

Millions of devotees from across the country have gathered at Sangam - the holy confluence of the Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati rivers in Allahabad - for Shahi Snan or holy dip on the occasion of Basant Panchami on Friday, which is considered to be an auspicious day.

Maha Kumbh Mela, which comes only once in 144 years, began on Jan 14 and will conlude on March 10.

Kumbh Mela Tragedies:

Looking back at the Kumbh Melas in the past, tragic incidents such as stampedes are not new. But the worst tragic incident recorded till date is the Feb 3, 1954 Kumbh Mela stampede in Allahabad. About 1,000 people died and scores of others injured at the first Kumbh Mela after Independence.

2003 Kumbh Mela stampede at Nasik killed at least 39 people, including 26 women and injured more than hundred people. The accident was reportedly caused by the scramble among the devotees to collect the coins thrown by the by sadhus.

2010 Kumbh Mela stampede in Haridwar also claimed seven lives, including five women and an infant, and injured 17 people. Two people were drown in a separate incident at the Mela.

Kumbh Mela is a Hindu pilgrimage wherein devotees take bath at one of the sacred rivers - Ganga, Sangam (confluence of Ganges, Yamuma and Saraswati), Godawari and Shipra. It is held once in three years at one of the four places - Haridwar, Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain - alternatively.