Indians are very religious and God fearing people. As such, in the normal day-to-day life, you will find many people engaging themselves in some or other religious acts, like visiting the temple, watering the holy Tulsi plant, feeding the cow, etc. Apart from upholding the Indian tradition, other reasons behind their passionate devoutness could be selfless love or fear of God or a mix of both. While there are varied religious activities which Indians observe, perhaps the one considered most sacred is bathing in the waters of holy rivers.
There are many sacred rivers in India, like the Ganga, Yamuna, Saraswati, and so on. But the one considered the holiest is the Ganga, personified as a Goddess in the Indian mythology. The river is also mentioned in the Rig Veda, one of the earliest Hindu scriptures. According to Hindu beliefs, a holy dip in the Ganges on certain festivals, by any person, will lead to the forgiveness of all his/her sins and also help in attaining salvation. Many others believe that taking a holy dip in the sacred waters of Ganga, anytime, will have the same effect.
As such, Indians - old and young, come to participate or bathe in the sacred rivers during certain holy bathing festivals like the Kumbh Mela and Chhat Puja. Often, people also immerse the ashes of their kin in the Ganga waters so that their soul may rest peacefully in heaven. Apart from these spiritual baths, many also carry the water of the sacred rivers home, in copper pots, as it is considered to be very auspicious. Those on the verge of dying are usually given drops of this holy water to drink in order to free them of all their sins.
Any talk of holy or spiritual bathing in India will remain incomplete without the mention of the Kumbh Mela. It is a Hindu bathing festival or pilgrimage which occurs once in every 12 years at four fixed located in India - Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain and Nashik and is attended by millions of people on a single day. Said to have been initiated by King Harshvardhana of Ujjain, the precise dates of the Kumbh Mela are astronomically determined, based upon precise calculations of the positions of the Sun, the Moon and Jupiter.