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Home > Fairs or Melas > Gangasagar Mela
Gangasagar Mela
Gangasagar MelaNear the mouth of the Ganges in Bengal, is the island of Gangasagar (also called Sagar or Saugar) where the Ganges is believed to have dived into the nether regions and vivified the ashes of the sixty thousand ancestors of Bhagiratha.

Every year a Mela is held here in January-February and is attended by a large number of pilgrims from East India. The island is sacred to the sage Kapila. The sage responsible for initiating the chain of events that ultimately resulted in Ganga coming down to earth from heaven and giving mankind an opportunity to wash away its sins in her pure water.

The river Ganga which originates in the Gangotri glacier in the snow clad Himalayas, descends down the mountains, reaches the plains at Haridwar, flows through ancient pilgrimage sites such as Benares and Prayag, and drains into the Bay of Bengal. Sagar Island, at the mouth of the river Hooghly in Bengal (accessed from Diamond Harbor), where the Ganga breaks up into hundreds of streams, and drains into the sea, is honored as a pilgrimage site.

Inside the Kapil Muni temple, a vermilion-smeared stone panel is the object of worship. Carved in the centre is an image of the saint holding a small pot of water in his left hand and a rosary in the right hand. Flanking this image are two other idols - one of Ganga, the four-armed goddess with Bhagiratha sitting on her lap and another of Sagar, the bearded king.

The largest fair of the State, Gangasagar Mela is a three-day event held in mid-January, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti, at Sagar Dwip. Lakhs of pilgrims come for a holy dip at the confluence of the Ganga and at the Bay of Bengal. Sadhus and other holy men and women lead the pilgrim brigade. Attired in various shades of saffron, their wooden staff and tridents raised, the sadhus are the first to jump into the water. A dip in the ocean, where the Ganga drains into the sea is considered to be of great religious significance particularly on the Makara Sankranti day when the sun makes a transition to Capricorn from Sagittarius and this town becomes home to vast fairs, drawing visitors and recluses from all over the state. There is a common belief among the locals that the girls who take the holy dip get handsome grooms and the boys get beautiful brides. After the rituals, they head towards the Kapilmuni Temple situated nearby, to worship the deity as a mark of respect.
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