Partha Pratim Roy, an active young historian from Coochbehar, who nurtures a profession in tourism and journalism, has made a effort to explore one of the oldest festival on the Ganga, just when she meets the Bay of Bengal. Next time you are in West Bengal, India in mid January, do not miss this festival. As per Partha’s report, after visit to the festival, things seems to be improving.
Makar Sankranti is a major harvest festival celebrated in various parts of India. According to the lunar calendar, when the sun moves from the Tropic of Cancer to the Tropic of Capricorn or from Dakshinayana to Uttarayana, in the month of Poush in mid-January, it commemorates the beginning of the harvest season and cessation of the northeast monsoon in South India. The movement of the earth from one zodiac sign into another is called Sankranti and as the Sun moves into the Capricorn zodiac known as Makar in Hindi, this occasion is named as Makar Sankranti in the Indian context. It is one of the few Hindu Indian festivals which are celebrated on a fixed date i.e. 14th January every year. Main essence of Gangasagar Mela belongs to religious belief of Hindus, who believe that through Gangasnan (dip in the Ganga) one can achieve their MOKSHA (Salvation).
Decades by decades Holy Places are major meeting points for Indian pilgrims. Every year more than 08 Lakhs of Pilgrimags pay their homage to Gangasagar from various part of our country.. Government has taken all necessary steps for hassle free visit. They have provided good drinking water facility, 08 Mobile water treatment plants, 60 Ambulance with 60 Doctors, 6000 Police personals. Several Non Government Organisations also provided free medical camps, accommodation facility free foods for pilgrims. Since post independence this is the first time Government .has introduced huge scale of electricity on 24hrs basis. For easier movement prepaid taxi services also have introduced for the first time.
Sankaracharya of Puri visited the Mela. During press conference he has shown his gratitude to Ms. Mamata Banerjee for withdrawing of Pilgrim Tax. He has also requested to Ms. Mamata Banerjee to look into the matter of cleanliness of Ganga and also requested her to protect Ganga in West Bengal. As per his concern he is so scared about the future of Ganga because in Northern part of India, Ganga is obstructed by several Dams or hydroelectric projects. He has demanded and appealed to State or Central Government Bodies to Protect the Ganga on top priority basis.
pix: On the road to salvation (As you can see in this picture, for a Hindu to be at the Gangasagar once in a lifetime means a lot and even helping others to reach there means much more).
Guru Gyandas, main Mahonto of Ayodhya also showed his gratitude towards to the present Government for withdrawl of Pilgrim Tax. He has also raised his demand to declare the mela as NATIONAL MELA like Kumbha Mela. Dignatries like Jasawant Singh and Uma Bharati also took the holy dip.
Shri Subrata Mukherjee, public Health Engineering Minister for the state of West Bengal giving his speech during Press Conference promised that the Gangasagar Mela 2013 will be more colourful and govt would have taken various steps in this regard. He has told the Press about withdrawn of pilgrim tax; introduce health insurance, 24hrs electricity, disaster management team, free water pouch (approx 8lakh) as their success.