Gangasagar Mela is observed on the day of Makar Sankranti on which devotees take a holy bath in the sacred waters of Ganga. A large number of pilgrims appear at the Sagar Island or ‘Sagardweep’ situated in the state of West Bengal to take a dip in the Ganga river before it falls off into the Bay of Bengal. Gangasagar Snan is also known famously as Gangasagar Mela as a big fair is organized that starts a few days before Makar Sankranti and ends on or a day after it. It is believed that taking a bath in river Ganga on the day of Makar Sankranti not only liberate the person taking bath from his sin but the sins of his ancestors will also be forgiven. Prayers are offered to Goddess Ganga as well as God Sun on the day of Gangasagar Snan. People who want to know details about the Gangasagar Snan 2024 can find the same from this article.
Gangasagar Mela 2024 Overview
15th January 2024
About Gangasagar Mela
Gangasagar Snan or Gangasagar Yatra is considered very auspicious and devotees from different corners of the country reach Sagardweep to take part in this festival.
Gangasagar Snan is taken on the day of Makar Sankranti which falls on Monday, 15th January 2024.
Check: Hindu Calendar 2024
Importance of Gangasagar Snan
Makar Sankranti itself is a festival of new and happy beginnings. It is believed that by taking a bath in the holy waters of river Ganga on this day releases a person from all his sins of previous life.
Not only this, the sins of forefathers and ancestors are also believed to be redeemed by taking a bath in Ganga on Gangasagar Snan. Devotees also believe that by taking Gangasagar Snan, they can attain salvation.
Owing to this, a large number of devotees visit Sagardweep in West Bengal and take a dip in Ganga every year on the day of Makar Sankranti.
History of Gangasagar Snan- Story behind Gangasagar Snan
The history of Gangasagar Snan goes back to the time of King Sagar of Sagar dynasty whose grandson King Bhagirath brought river Ganga to the earth for releasing his 60000 uncles from the curse given by Kapil Muni. The story goes as follows:
Once upon a time, Devraj Indra stole the mighty horse of King Sagar and hide it at the ashram of Kapil Muni located at Sagardweep. The muni was deep in his meditation and has no knowledge of it. The king’s son started searching for the horse when they visited Kapil Muni’s ashram and found their horse. Without knowing the facts, the sons started cursing the Muni and his meditation got interrupted. Furious Muni got out of his ashram and cursed the king’s sons to burn in the fire of hell for all eternity. All the sons died immediately with their souls trapped in hell.
After many years, when the grandson of King Sagar grew up, he visited the muni’s ashram once again and asked him to forgive his ancestors and end their sufferings. At this, the muni replied that the only way this can be done is by bringing the Ganga river to the place where all the sons were cursed and died. King Bhagirath then meditated and prayed Goddess Ganga to come to earth and liberate his forefathers.
At this, Ganga said that she could not fall from sky to the earth and must be sustained by Lord Shiva in His hair during the fall. Bhagirath then prayed and pleased Lord Shiva and then brought Ganga on earth at the ashram of Kapil Muni, known as Sagardweep. This way Ganga was brought to earth and upon her touch she liberated the souls of the ancestors of King Bhagirath on the same day as Makar Sankranti.
Gangasagar Snan Rituals
The day begins at 3 am with prayers being offered to Kapil Muni. Aarti, yagya and pooja is performed by the pandits and is observed by a number of devotees who reach there from different parts of the country.
At the time of sunrise, around 4 am, the devotees then take a dip in the Ganga river and offer prayers (arghya) to the rising sun. Some devotees prefer observing a fast on the day of Gangasagar Snan. After the snan, the devotees visit the Kapilmuni Temple where again prayers are conducted.
It always falls on the day of Makar Sankranti.
The fair is held at Kapilmuni’s ashram in Gangasagar, West Bengal, India.
Last year, 51 lakhs devotees came to visit the mela- according to state minister Aroop Biswas.