What is Gangasagar mela?
Every year during Gangasagar mela, devotees from all over the country gather at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal to take a sacred dip during Makar Sankranti (mid-January). Gangasagar is an island in the Ganges delta located on the continental shelf of the Bay of Bengal roughly 130 kilometers (54 nautical miles) south of Kolkata, according to West Bengal Tourism. The mela is India’s second largest pilgrimage gathering after the Kumbh Mela. This year, the mela will be held from January 8 to 17, with Makar Sankranti falling on January 15, and approximately three million people are expected to attend the mela to take the holy dip.
Origin and History of Sagar Mela:
Kapil Muni temple holds a sacred and intense story behind the actual paavam beliefs being secretly followed today. Sage Kapil Muni, son of Kardam Muni, was one of the blessed incarnations of Lord Vishnu. At the time, King Sagar was conducting a huge prosperous Ashwamedha Yaga to win over the world. So Indra deva, the lord of the heavens, stole the sacrificial horses and hastily tied them in the patal lok (below the earth) beside Kapil Muni’s Ashram out of jealousy. On finding the horse in Kapil Muni’s Ashram, the king’s sons mistook Kapil Muni for the thief and blamed him for the same. Kapil Muni was infuriated with the false blame and cursed the boys for reducing them into ashes. Later Bhagirathi, the only grandson of King Sagar, meditated for years, convincing the holy river Ganga to flow down towards the Bay of Bengal over his ancestors’ cursed mortals to pour salvation into their souls.
How to reach?
By air-Kolkata airport, i.e., Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport.
By train-Sealdah South lines from Kolkata to Namkhana. Ferry cross available at Bakkhali to Sagar Island.
By road-Esplanade, Kolkata to Harwood point.
After the ferry crossing, catch the Kachuberia bus to reach the pilgrim destination.