Prayagraj : In the chilly winters, over 800 sadhus with shaved heads and white sandal donned on their foreheads, took 108 naked holy dips on the banks of river Ganga as a part of the ritual to become a Naga Sadhu on Sunday.
The monks from the Juna Akhara along with eight foreign monks participated in the event and were given the glory of joining the highest and challenging tradition of monastic life with reverence by Acharya Mahamandleshwar Awadheshnad Giri, head Trustee of the Acharya Mahasabha.
Every time during Kumbh, several monks from across the world gather at this largest holy congregation to attain the initiation of a Naga.
Reclusive Naga Sadhus, who are considered as the protector of Hindu religion, are known for stripping naked and covering their body in ashes with matted hair worn as thick dreadlocks, and Jata.
Before becoming a Naga, a monk has to be ordained by a guru and follow the rules of a ‘brahmacharya’. The monks, after completing the rigorous procedure, are made to take a royal bath in the holy river as a final step in the process of becoming a Naga Sadhu.
According to Mahant Satya Chaitanya of Juna Akhara, Nagas across the country are known with different titles depending on the region of initiation. Nagas from Prayagraj are called Raj Rajeshwari, the ones who receive their initiation from Haridwar are known as Barfani Naga, Triyambekeshwar Nashik as Khichdi Nagaand the ones from Ujjain are called Khooni Naga.