West Bengal ministers have demanded National Mela status for Gangasagar mela as record pilgrims have come to the mela this year claiming that the annual pilgrimage was turning out to be the biggest religious gathering in the country.

 

About the ‘Gangasagar Mela’

  • It is known as the world’s second largest human congregation after Kumbh.
  • It happens every year during Makar Sankranti.
  • The mela is held at Sagar Island.
  • It has been mentioned in Indian epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata, putting its existence as early as 400 BCE.
  • The pilgrims after taking a dip in Ganga also visit the temple of Kapil Muni.

 

Who is Kapil Muni?

  • Kapila or Maharishi Kapila is a Vedic sage (rishi) traditionally considered to be the original proponent of the Samkhya system of Indian philosophy.
  • He is said to have lived in the Indian subcontinent, around the sixth or seventh century C.E.
  • Kapila is described within the Puranas as an incarnation of Vishnu.
  • He is known for teaching a process of liberation known as bhakti yoga.
  • Buddhist sources present Kapila as a well-known philosopher whose students built the city of Kapilavastu.
  • He is not only renowned in Hinduism, but also in Buddhism.
  • Kapila shared many similarities with Buddha, including an emphasis on meditation as a technique for removing suffering, belief that the Vedic gods were subject to limitations and conditions, and dislike for ritual and Brahmanic doctrines.

 

Where is Sagar Island Located?

  • Sagar Island, westernmost island of the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta lies in West Bengal.
  • It lies at the mouth of the Hugli (Hooghly) River, an arm of which separates it from the mainland to the east.