Gangasagar Mela(Fair) in West Bengal-The Second largest fair after the Kumbh Mela-Pictures

The river Ganga which orginates in the Gangotri glacier in the snow-clad Himalayas, descends down the mountains, reaches the plains at haridwar, flows through ancient piligrime sites such as Benares(Varanasi) and Prayag ans drains into the Bay of Bengal.Sagar Island at the mouth of the river Hoogly in Bengal, where the Ganga breaks up into hundreds of streams, and drains into the sea, is revered as piligrame site.
Location: Kolkatta West Bengal
Celebrated In: January-February month every year
Celebrated At: Ganga Sagar Island
Duration: 3-4 days
Reach By Air: The Nearest Airport is Kolkata Airport
Reach By Rail: The Nearest Major Railway station is Kolkata. 
Reach By Road: Many public and private vehicles available

Ganga Sagar Mela is the largest fair celebrated in West Bengal.Gangasagar Mela and pilgrimage is the second largest fair in India, after Kumbha Mela. The fair is held where the Ganga river flows in to the Bay of Bengal, hence the name "Gangasagar Mela."Gangasagar Mela is every year on the last day of gujarati paus month of the Hindu (Vikrami) calendar.The massiveness of the event can be assessed from the fact that over a million pilgrim come from far off places, and from across the country.Gangasagar Mela is not complete without the sight of Naga Sadhus(naked ascetics or sadhus) who sit naked in the little huts near the temple area enjoying a chillum of ganja.

Significance of Gangasagar Mela

About two to three lakh people come to this fair every year.It is believed that one pilgrimage to Gangasagar in one's lifetime is equal to a hundred other piligrimages.The proximity of the Sundarbans  breeds many dangers to the fair.Storms and tides disturb the fair almost every year.But the tradition goes on.

The Holy Dip 

A dip in the ocean, where the Ganga drains in to the sea is considered to be of great religious significance particularly on Makar Sankranti when the sun makes a transition to Capricorn from Sagittarius, at which time this town becomes home to vast fairs, drawing visitors and renunciants from all over the state.The piligrims come for holy dip in the Ganges and offer water to the Sun God. The dip as they say ,purifies their 'self' and according to them, punya can be obtained thus.A special puja is performed which is offered to Sun God as a thanks giving for good harvest.

Til and rice being two important ingredients for this festival.people have a special rice-centric meal on this day.On this day,people come from all over India for a ceremonial cleansing in the river Hoogly. near Kolkata.

Gangasagar Mela at Kapil Muni Temple

There is a common belief among the locals that 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 Kapil Muni Temple situated nearby, to worship the deity as a mark of respect.There are images of Gangadevi, Kapil MUni and Bhagirathi at temple.

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