We resume our journey along the Ganges. Those who have not read the previous parts of the Voices along the Ganges series, please read my earlier posts Voices along the Ganges : Saints & Beggars, Voices along the Ganges : Chants & Folklores and Voices along the Ganges : Weddings & Funerals.
The river Ganges which originates in the Gangotri glacier in the snow clad Himalayas, descends down the mountains, reaches the plains at Haridwar, flows through ancient pilgrimage sites such as Prayag (Allahabad), Benares and Patna, and drains into the Bay of Bengal. Sagar Island, at the mouth of the river Hooghly in Bengal, where the Ganga breaks up into hundreds of streams, and drains into the sea, is honored as a pilgrimage site, signifying the spot where the ashes of the ancestors of Bhagiratha were purified by the waters of the Ganga.
Bihar-Bengal border – Lori (Lullaby) : (Download)
Bihar-Bengal border – Hori Jogira : (Download)
An important festival of Bengal is Kali Puja, a festival in which people worship Goddess Kali, the goddess of destruction, the saviour of mankind from evil demons. During this Puja, clay images of demons are sold to be placed alongside images of Kali herself. At the end of festivals, thousands of devotees converge on the Ghats of Kolkata to immerse clay images of Durga, Kali, Lakshmi and Saraswati into the river. Every year, in mid-January, a religious festival, Gangasagar Mela is celebrated at Sagardwip, the last island before the ocean, where the Ganga meets the sea.
Bengal – O Doyal : (Download)
Bengal – Baul Song : (Download)
Bengal – Kali Kirtan : (Download)
A dip in the ocean, where the Ganges drains into the sea is considered to be of great religious significance particularly on the Makar Sankranti day (mid-January) when the sun makes a transition to Capricorn from Saggitarius and this town becomes home to vast fairs, drawing visitors and recluses (sanyasis) from all over India.