Holy dip on Sankranti post sunset after 65 yrs

Holy dip on Sankranti post sunset after 65 yrs

The last time devotees took a dip on Makar Sankranti after sundown 65 years ago, Jawaharlal Nehru was India’s prime minister and Bangladesh was still a pipedream. 

Gyandas Mohant, chief priest of the Kapil Muni temple at Sagar island, around 100 km south of Kolkata, said the holy dip would take place exactly at 7:04 pm on Tuesday, instead of the usual morning hours. Calling it an “uncommon occurrence”, he said the time was calculated according to the sun’s transition on the celestial path of the Makara Rashi or Capricorn.

According to administration sources, while most devotees would take the holy dip on Tuesday, some would do so on Wednesday. According to a school of thought, bathing time would start on Tuesday evening and last till Wednesday afternoon. Noted astrologers told reporters at Sagar island that according to calculations, Makar Sankranti starts after 6:20 pm on Tuesday.

Three lakh devotees

Mohant said temple authorities have made all necessary arrangements in coordination with the South 24 Parganas district administration. Around three lakh Hindu devotees gathered to take a dip.  While the main attraction was the holy dip on Makar Sakranti, pilgrims started arriving on January 10. They will stay back till January 16, the last day of the fair. District magistrate Santanu Basu said 6,000 police personnel have been deployed to provide security, with around 100 NGOs having pitched tents at the fair ground to help devotees. 

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also greeted pilgrims on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. “Gangasagar festival is a revered festival like the Kumbh Mela. Lakhs of devout pilgrims will do Ganga Snan. This year, we are expecting a record turnout. I welcome all,” she wrote on her Facebook page. 

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