Virtual solution: Holy dip in the Ganga, from home
For those who had planned a visit to the abode of Kapil Muni at the Gangasagar Island this year, but later decided against it in view of a renewed Covid threat, the South 24-Parganas district administration has come forward with a virtual solution.
This year, the mela will last from January 10 to 15.
The district administration has launched the “Ghar baithe punya snan” initiative through which devotees can offer puja sitting at home and take a bath with the holy water of Gangasagar sent by the authorities to their homes.
To help devotees who can’t make it to the fair in view of the growing count of the omicron variant of Covid in the country, South 24-Parganas district administration has launched the “eSnan”, “ePuja” and “eDarshan” services under “Ghar baithe punya snan”
Using the online service, devotees can join the spiritual journey from the comfort of their homes by paying a nominal fee that will enable them to take a bath with the holy water, offer puja and have prasad while watching the fair live on social media platforms.
To book the service, devotees have to visit the dedicated portal www.gangasagar.in or use WhatsApp number +91700396110.
Even those who make it to the Sagar Island but would like to enjoy the online service can book it offline at kiosks en route to the island.
“This is an innovative initiative piloted by the district administration to provide devotees the real taste of Gangasagar mela at home,” said district magistrate P. Ulaganathan at a media briefing on Thursday.
South 24-Parganas ADM (general) Siyad N. explained the offer.
“The eSnan and ePuja services are free of cost. The district administration is just charging the courier fee to deliver the items at home. The courier fee for the eSnan pack is Rs 100, while those opting for the ePuja will have to pay Rs 150,” he said.
Once the fee is paid online, the devotees will be sent an eSnan pack that will contain Ganga water, a booklet, soil lifted from the Ganga riverbed and prasad. Similarly, those who want to perform ePuja will receive prasad and puja flowers from the Kapil Muni ashram.
The package has been prepared by Sundarini, which is a self-help group run by women of South 24-Parganas.
This apart, for the convenience of devotees, the district administration has also launched an eDarshan service to give a feeling of being at Gangasagar.
While the eSnan, ePuja and eDarshan will work on virtual platforms, the district administration has planned to help pilgrims physically present at Gangasagar with “Sagar Bhraman” programme, again a free service under which they would be picked up and dropped at a fixed point with access facilities such as wheelchairs for those who need them, including the ailing and the elderly. There will be dedicated caregivers for people to help witness the mela in a hassle-free manner.
“To access Sagar Bhraman facility, devotees will again have to visit www.gangasagar.in to register themselves,” an official said.