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Indian holy man shakes water from his dreadlocks at sacred river confluence

Rajesh Kumar Singh / AP

A Sadhu, or a Hindu holy man, takes a dip at Sangam, confluence of the Rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, during the annual traditional fair of Magh Mela in Allahabad, India, Monday, Jan. 30, 2012. Hundreds of thousands of devout Hindus bathe at the confluence during the astronomically auspicious period of over 45 days celebrated as Magh Mela.

Rajesh Kumar Singh / AP

Indian Hindu holy men perform rituals inside a circle made of dried cow dung cakes at Sangam.

According to the Wikipedia article for Sadhu (the holy men pictured here):

Becoming a sadhu is a difficult lifestyle. Sadhus are considered to be dead unto themselves, and legally dead to the country of India. They may be required ritually to attend their own funeral before following a guru for many years, serving him by doing menial tasks until acquiring the necessary experience to leave his leadership.