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Gangasagar Mela: Indian Coast Guard rescues 140 pilgrims as ferry boat with 400 runs aground

South 24 Parganas: The Indian Coast Guard on Tuesday launched a major rescue operation after a ferry boat with 400 pilgrims ran ground off Namkhana, Kakdwip area near Gangasagar pilgrimage in West Bengal.
The Coast Guard deployed hovercrafts from Haldia and so far, around 140 pilgrims have been rescued and operations are still going on, the Indian Coast Guard said.
The pilgrims were returning from Gangasagar after taking a holy dip on the occasion of Makar Sankranti. Their boat ran aground due to poor visibility, it added.
Meanwhile, devotees thronged Sagardwip in West Bengal during Gangasagar Mela on Makar Sankranti and took a holy dip. The auspicious day adds to the festive atmosphere, amplifying the cultural and religious importance of the gathering.
Situated just off the Bengal coast, Sagardwip has exceptional beauty and religious significance. The confluence of the Ganga River and the Bay of Bengal imparts a unique spiritual charm to this location.
The second-largest fair after Kumbh Mela, the Gangasagar Mela starts on the pious day of Makar Sankranti, which generally falls between January 14 and 15 every year and concludes on January 17.
The annual fair at one of the oldest and leading pilgrimage sites in the country draws devotees every year, who also take a holy dip in the sacred waters of the Ganga at Sagardweep, from where the river merges with the Bay of Bengal.

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