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Fairs, Festivals, Melas

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Tight security in Bengal ahead of Gangasagar fair
by Ajitha Menon

     Sagar Island (West Bengal): Authorities in West Bengal have beefed up the security in the region ahead of the state's largest Gangasagar fair. Over 500, 000 devotees from across the country are expected to throng the Sagar Island for a holy dip on the confluence of the river Ganges with the Bay of Bengal later this month to mark 'Makar Sankranti', an auspicious day according to Hindu almanac which is celebrated widely across the country. The authorities at Sagar Island are busy making arrangements including security during the fair that draws visitors and recluses from all over the country. In the wake of the recent spate of terror attacks across the country, local administration is taking precautions to avoid any mishap. "Security measures in different forms like police, military and paramilitary have been taking place. They are trying to tighten the security arrangement," said Prasanta Biswas, Sub Divisional Officer (SDO), Kakdwip. The day on which the sun begins its journey northwards is referred to as 'Makara Sankranti'. "Whoever comes on the day of 'Makar Sankranti' to this Gangasagar fair and takes a holy dip, that person's pilgrimage is considered to be successful. The person is blessed by the grace of God," said Mahanta Amargiri, a seer. There is also a common belief that the girls who take the holy dip get handsome grooms and the boys get beautiful brides. When they are done with the ritual obligations, they head towards the Kapilmuni Temple situated nearby, to worship the deity as a mark of respect.
-Jan 9, 2009

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