At the Gangasagar Mela this year, thousands of pilgrims took the holy dip on the occasion of Makar Sakranti and offered prayers at the Kapil Muni temple in Kolkata on Thursday.
The timings of the holy dip this year is from 6.02 am on Thursday to 6.02 am on Friday, according to the Hindu calendar. Pilgrims from different parts of the country came out of their camps early in the morning, braving cold and fog, to undertake the holy rituals at the confluence of the Ganga and the Bay of Bengal.
The pilgrimage this year is taking place amid Covid-19 safety guidelines, with police personnel and volunteers deployed in large numbers to ensure they are followed, officials said.
A lesser number of pilgrims have come to Gangasagar due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the officials noted.
The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday had allowed the Gangasagar Mela to be held this year while asking the West Bengal government to pursue pilgrims to opt for ''e-snan'' (e-bathing) to avoid crowding for the holy dip in view of the pandemic.
The Director of Health Services of the state government has in a report to the high court said that the risk of Covid-19 transmission through bathing in flowing water like in a river or saline water in sea is extremely low.
It was also stated in the report that as a measure of precaution, pilgrims are allowed to go for a dip in a staggered manner maintaining safe distance between one another.
With PTI inputs