Gangasagar Mela is the largest fair celebrated in West Bengal. This fair is held where the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal form a nexus. Hence the name Gangasagar Mela. 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.
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. When they are done with the ritual obligations, they head towards the Kapilmuni Temple situated nearby, to worship the deity as a mark of respect.
Places of Interest
Kalighat Kali Temple –
It is one of the 52 ‘Shakti Peetham’ of India and is a major site of ‘Shakti’ worship. It is believed that a finger of goddess Kali fell here when Shiva (hindu god) was carrying her dead body. The temple enshrines an awe inspiring black stone idol of goddess ‘Kali’.
Belur Math –
Established by Swami Vivekanada in 1899 it is headquarter of Ramkrishan Mission. This shrine gives the message of secularism and religious tolerance. The architecture is unique in its own way as it gives the view of a temple, a mosque and a church if seen from different angles.
Dakshineshwar Kali Temple –
This temple built by Rani Rashmoni in 1847 is situated on other side of river Hooghli. It also houses statues of other deities such as Shiva, Radha-Krishan and Sita-Ram.
Birla Mandir –
The architecture of the temple is a perfect blend of traditional artistry and modern technology.
How to reach
By Air –
Kolkata is connected by air with Jorhat, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna, Port Blair, Ranchi, Silchar, Tezpur, Visakhapatnam, Amritsar, Delhi and Leh.
By Rail –
Kolkata railway station connects Kolkata with all major cities of the country.
By Road –
Kolkata is well connected by road with all major parts of the country.
There are quiet comfortable Tourist Cottages run by the West Bengal Tourism Development Corporation.
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