Devotees start pouring in 13 days ahead of Ganga Sagar Mela
Sagar Island: With still 13 days left for Makarsankranti, pilgrims from across the country have already started pouring in to Sagar Island to avoid heavy rush during the Ganga Sagar Mela.
More than 20 lakh pilgrims visit Gangasagar every year and this year, pilgrims will mainly start coming in from January 10. But already a large section of people were found marching ahead towards the confluence of river Ganga in Sagar Island on Wednesday morning.
There were hundreds found waiting at Lot 8 transit point to get a vessel to cross Muriganga to reach Kachuberia on the other side of the river.
The pilgrims need to take either a bus or smaller vehicles to reach the beach or Kapil Muni Mandir. There are ample number of buses at Kachuberia to help pilgrims reach the beach. According to a senior official, the number of buses and smaller vehicles will be increased during the mela.
Dudhaji Morey, a pilgrim from Hingoli district in Maharashtra, said: "We had planned our trip accordingly so that we can take the holy dip when there is not much crowd at Ganga Sagar."
He further said they will also be visiting several other religious places after taking the holy dip at Ganga Sagar.
"This is the fifth time I am coming to Ganga Sagar. This time it is completely different. We have not faced any inconvenience in reaching Kapil Muni's ashram. There was sufficient number of buses and all precautions were taken when we crossed Muriganga river in the vessel. Moreover, we didn't have to wait for a long time to get a vessel as it operated most of the time in a day as the dredging work has been carried out to perfection," he said.
Since pilgrims have already started visiting the Island, the district administration has brought most places under the coverage of surveillance cameras. A control room has been set up at the mela office from where footages of surveillance cameras are being monitored. Even the places where dredging work is being carried out, have been brought under coverage of surveillance cameras.
The mendicants have also started coming in from different places including Tarapeeth, Nepal, Gaya, Kashi and Rishikesh. The Mamata Banerjee government has repaired the places where the sadhus take shelter during the Gangasagar Mela.
Another pilgrim from Rajasthan said that he had visited the place earlier, but this time it was cleaner and it was nice to find officials at regular intervals to provide various necessary information to the pilgrims.