According to mythological sources, Ganga’s descent on Earth from heaven was due to a plethora of events that unfolded over centuries. At the confluence of this great river is the site where pilgrims believe that they can attain moksha.
Let us now turn the pages of ancient mythology to discover more about this pilgrimage of celestial proportions.
At the heart of Gangasagar lies the temple of Kapil Muni.This great saint is who is an avatar of Lord Vishnu, was born to Kardam Muni and Debahuti Devi. Going by the mythological stories,all his life,Kardam Muni had dedicatedly followed all directions of Vishnu for his only wish was that the Lord be born as his son. His wish was finally granted with the birth of Kapil Muni.
King Sagar is the other indispensable character whose name itself is a source of inspiration of the name Gangasagar. This Ayodhyan king was peforming his 100th Ashwamedha yajna when Lord Indra intervened.
Fearing that he might lose his throne if Sagar acquired too much piety, Lord Indra hid the sacrificial horse under the Kapil Muni ashram (Patal). Seething with rage, King Sagar sent his 60,000 sons on a mission to find the missing horse. His sons went on a rampage, in and around Sagardwip and finally reached Kapil Muni’s hermitage. The saint was meditating when they interrupted him and accused him of theft.
With a single glance, Kapil Muni turned King Sagar’s sons into ashes. Years later, the grandson of King Sagar, upon guidance from Kapil Muni meditated for long to persuade Ganga to descend to Earth from heaven.
Through Maheswar’s (Shiva) hair, Devi Ganga trickled down from the Himalayas and washed away the sins of Sagar’s sons.
The same Ganga that freed the souls of 60,000 people now inspires lakhs of people from not just India but all over the world to congregate and take a holy dip. And all of this is aimed at attaining moksha: the ultimate freedom of the soul.