At Pakur (Jharkhand), Ganga gives birth to Bhagirathi-Hoogly, its first distributary, which goes and joins the Hooghly River to nourish the plains of West Bengal, finally emptying into the Bay of Bengal.
The rest of the Ganga flows further east, crossing the Indian borders to become Padma in Bangladesh. Padma is then joined by Jamuna, the largest distributary of Brahmaputra, and later by Meghna, to empty out into the Bay.
Together, the various distributaries of Ganga and Brahmaputra, form the largest delta in the world and give rise to magnificent flora and fauna in the region in the form of Sundarbans.
GangaSagar or Sagardwip is an island lying on the continental shelf of Bay of Bengal, about 100 km south of Kolkata, in West Bengal. The place is rich in cultural significance. Every year on the day of Makar Sankranti, countless pilgrims take a holy dip at the confluence of Ganga with Bay of Bengal and offer prayers at the Kapil Muni Temple.
As per historic records, Kardam Muni had made a pact with Lord Vishnu that he would undergo the rigours of marital life, on the condition that the Lord himself would incarnate as his son. In due time Lord Vishnu incarnated as Kapil Muni in the house of Kardam Muni. Kapil Muni’s ashram was located on the island.
One day King Sagar’s sacrificial horse disappeared; it had been stolen by Lord Indra. The king sent his 60000 sons to search for it. It was found near Kapil Muni’s ashram, where Lord Indra had hid it. In their ignorance the princes accused Kapil Muni of theft and attracted his wrath. They were burnt to ashes and their souls were sent to hell.
The descendants of the princes then prayed to the Muni for the salvation of their ancestors. Kapil Muni then blessed them saying that if Devi Parvati would incarnate as Devi Ganga and they perform the last ritual for their ancestors by mixing the ashes with holy waters, their forefathers would be freed.
Then King Bhagiratha performed severe penance of Lord Shiv who then brought Devi Ganga to earth from heaven. The date of descent of Ganga coincides with that of Makar Sankranti, when surya enters the makar rashi, also marking the northward movement of sun, the uttarayan.
60,000 sons of Sagar ascended to heaven, but Ganga stayed on earth, to wash the sins of generations to follow. Har Har Gange!
Ganga has been called as the teerth of kaliyug. This teerth is fast receding. It is said that once Ganga retreats completely, kaliyug will end a few years after that. In this series of articles, we will attempt to trace the epic journey of Ganga, from Gomukh to Gangasagar.
A WORD OF CAUTION, THESE PLACES ARE NOT FOR TOURISM AND MUST NOT BE FRIVOLOUSLY APPROACHED FOR “FUN”. THE ENERGIES IN THESE PLACES ARE CONDUCIVE FOR SADHAKS AND THOSE TREADING THE PATH OF THEIR GURU TO FURTHER THEIR OWN SPIRITUAL JOURNEY ON THE PATH. IF THEY ARE USED FOR SOCIAL OUTINGS THEN YOU WILL DISTURB THE ENERGIES THERE AND BRING MISFORTUNE TO YOURSELF. THE VARIOUS CALAMITIES THAT HAPPEN AT SUCH PLACES ARE AMPLE PROOF OF THIS. THESE PLACES ARE FOR VAIRAGYA AND MOKSH, NOT FOR FUN AND GAMES.
IF YOU WANT TO COMPLETE A SADHNA WITHOUT DISTURBANCES FOR YOUR SPIRITUAL EVOLUTION, THEN THESE PLACES ARE IDEAL FOR YOU.