SAGAR ISLAND :
MILLIONS of devotees from across the world, including France, Russia and Australia, have flocked to Sagar Island in West Bengal’s South 24 Parganas for taking a holy dip on the occasion of Makar Sankranti on Wednesday. Every year during the auspicious occasion, pilgrims converge at Sagar Island, 130 km from Kolkata, to take a religious bath at the confluence of the Hooghly river and the Bay of Bengal and offer prayers at Kapil Muni Ashram.
The Gangasagar pilgrimage and fair is considered as the second largest congregation of mankind after the Kumbh Mela. Considering the importance and magnitude of the event, security forces, equipped with CCTVs, hovercraft and copters, have upped their arrangements in the area to ensure all-round safety of the pilgrims. P Ulaganathan, the District Magistrate, said people from across the globe have turned up in large numbers to attend the annual congregation on the occasion of Makar Sankranti - with the administration, this year, using QR code-assisted wrist bands to monitor the crowd.
“The mela has recorded a footfall of 21 lakh till yesterday. We expect the numbers to touch 40 lakh. The devotees have come from across the globe, including Nepal, Australia, France and Russia,” he told PTI on Tuesday. A total of 20 drones have been deployed to keep a close watch on the pilgrims, he said. “With the completion of Muriganga river dredging project, ferry operations have become smoother, with service being provided to the visitors for 18-20 hours every day,” Ulaganathan added.