GANGA SAGAR

                     THE END OF THE GANGES

     There are many holy rivers in India, but there is none to match the Ganges  fame. Cascading down from the lofty Himalayan peaks, she flows through the northern plains, making virtually every place on her path a pilgrimage site. Finally, at the Sagar Island, off the coast of West Bengal, she breaks into a hundred tributaries that flow into the sea. This point of confluence is called Ganga Sagar.

     By word of legend, the Ganges is a celestial river that was never meant to grace the earth. But the sons of King Sagar had committed a heinous crime, and their souls could be redeemed only if she watered their ashes. After three generations of severe penance by the descendents of King Sagar, the mighty river Ganga was made to flow over the Sagar Island, where the ashes of Sagars 60,000 sons lay scattered. At this point, her purpose of coming down to earth was consummated, and she ended her individual existence by merging into the Bay of Bengal.

      Drawn by the force of this legend, lakhs of pilgrims flock here to bathe and be released from the weight of their sins. In fact, the largest annual gathering of people in India is at Ganga Sagar on the day of Makara Shankaranthi in mid-January. It is believed that at this point of time, the energies of the Ganges are especially conducive to the liberation of the soul (Moksha). After the sacred bath, it is customary for visitors to head to the shrine of Kapila Muni to seek his blessings. Some pilgrims come with their families, while many others are reclusive Naga Babas or sky-clad ascetics found sitting by the temple-side, stoking their soul-bliss with deep drags from a chillum of sacred herbs.

     The photographs were taken in the year 2006 during the Ganga Sagar Mela.

 

Text: Shivashakthi

GANGA SAGAR

  • Pilgrims, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Pilgrims, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Sadhu, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Sadhus, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Security guards, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Brahmin¬†after the holy bath, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Pilgrim , Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Sadhu after the holy bath, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Beggar, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Selling necklaces, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • A pilgrim chant, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos
  • Young pilgrim, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos
  • Holy bath, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Women washing their Saris, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • A woman taking a ritual bath, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos
  • Drying Saris after the holy bath, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Drying Saris after the holy bath, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Pilgrims chant, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos
  • Pilgrims and beggars, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Beggar, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos
  • Naga Sadhu, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Beggar, pilgrim chant, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Family begging, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Pilgrims and beggar, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Pilgrims, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Pilgrims, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
  • Pilgrims, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos
  • Young pilgrim, Ganga Sagar, West Bengal, 2006. Copyright Yannick Cormier/Trikaya Photos.
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