Gangasagar Mela, The Holy Dip

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Ganga Sagar is a renowned Place of Pilgrimage on the western part of the Sunderban Delta in West Bengal. This place is considered to be Holy because here the River Ganga has a confluence with the Bay Of Bengal Sea. Every year on the auspicious day of ‘Makar Sankranti’ a huge fair known as “Gangasagar Mela”  is held here and people are seen taking a Holy Dip in the River Ganga, believing that taking a dip on this particular day will wash their sins. Millions of devotees of Lord Shiva covered in ash, sanyasis in their typical saffron robe, men wearing big and small colorful turbans on their head, women dressed in beautiful silk or cotton sarees is a normal sight during the week long grand celebration in the first week of January at the “Gangasagar Mela.” The “Gangasagar Mela” is the second largest mela after the “Kumbh Mela”.

 

The “Gangasagar Mela” comes alive with an array of shops selling heaps of rudraksha, vermillion, the sound of bells, Prayers, sound of the blowing conch shells, and the devotional songs. It is seen that the village priests lead the crowd of pilgrims by chanting "sab teerth baar baar, Ganga Sagar ek bar" which means” That Pilgrimage to Gangasagar equals to all the Holy places in India. The main attraction here even today is the Kapil Muni temple where people offer Coconuts, flowers, vermilion, sweets, and money after taking a dip in the Holy Ganges. The Kapil Muni Temple what one sees today is the newly built structure because the old ones were swallowed by the advancing sea. Many young couples get married on the river bed on the auspicious day of ‘Makar Sankranti’ and some even believe that young unmarried girls who take a Holy dip get handsome grooms and the boys get a beautiful bride. During the “Gangasagar Mela” devotees pour in through out the day and night to take a dip in the River Ganga. Another interesting sight during this “Mela” is the sight of the Naga Sadhus who sit in the small huts near the temple enjoying ganja.

 

The Holy River Ganga originates from the Gangaotri and travels through Rishikesh and Haridwar and lastly reaches the coast of WestBengal where this sacred river merges with the Bay Of Bengal Sea. The state of West Bengal is known for its rich culture and festival celebrations and “Gangasagar Mela” is the most colorful festival celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm every year. The “Gangasagar Mela” is hosted during the winter when the chill sea breeze makes it very difficult for the devotees to take the Holy dip in the River Ganga early in the morning. This clearly marks the strength of devotion in the minds of the pilgrims. The visit to the Ganagasagar fulfils the lifelong desire of the devotees and one can witness the magic of religion and the belief one has in religion.

 

River Ganga looks mesmerizing and beautiful with marigold flowers and lamps floating in the water through out the day and especially at night.

When: Jan 15, 2016

Duration: 1 Day

Where: West Bengal

Specially Celebrated in: West Bengal

<< Indian Festivals



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