Gangasagar, a famous religious place of Hindus, is an island located in the Bay of Bengal. 100 km from Kolkata. Far away, Gangasagar is part of the Sundarbans delta, but it is known for its religious features more than its geographical features.
Every year Gangasagar Mela is celebrated at the tip of this Sagar Island from where the river Ganges enters the Bay of Bengal. This Prayag has been named as Gangasagar. There is a temple of Kapil Muni here which holds special significance. Gangasagar is the biggest pilgrimage place after Kumbh Mela where hundreds of people come for holy bath. On the day of Makar Sankranti in 2018, about 20 lakh people came here for bath.
Stories Related to Gangasagar
According to Hindu texts, Lord Vishnu came to earth in the form of Kapil Muni. He built his ashram at this place and became absorbed in penance. During this time, King Sagar was earning a lot of merit due to his deeds on the earth, due to which Indra, the king of the gods, was seen shaking his throne. Indra played a trick and stole King Sagar’s sacrificial horse and left it near Kapil Muni’s ashram. King Sagar sent his 60000 sons to find that horse. When the sons of King Sagar found the horse near Kapil Muni’s ashram, they accused Kapil Muni of theft.
Unaware of Indra’s trick, Kapil Muni became enraged by this false allegation and he consumed all the sons of King Sagar and sent them to Hades. When Kapil Muni came to know about the real thing, he could not take back his curse, but he told the way to bring salvation to the sons of King Sagar. If Mother Parvati descended in the form of water on the earth and touched the ashes of the sons of King Sagar, then according to Hindu beliefs, her last action would have been completed and she would have attained salvation and went to heaven.
In order to bring salvation to the sons of King Sagar, their relative King Bhagirath did severe penance so that Mother Parvati would come to earth. And finally Parvati descended to earth in the form of Goddess Ganga and by her touch, the sons of King Sagar attained salvation. According to the Hindu calendar, the date of Ganga’s arrival on earth is on Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti. That is why lakhs of people take bath in Gangasagar on this day so that they can attain heaven.
How to Reach Gangasagar
In Kolkata you will find buses and taxis to go to Kakdwip from any place. From Kakdwip you can easily get ferries to Gangasagar.
Nearest Airport: Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata is the nearest airport from Gangasagar.
Nearest Railway Station: Sealdah is the closest of the major railway stations from here.
When to visit Gangasagar
Most tourists and pilgrims come here in January. The weather here is also good during this time. Apart from this, it will be great if you visit here anytime during the cold season.