Nearly 200,000 devotees took holy dip in River Gomati on Poush Sankranti

January 15th, 2009 - 10:40 pm ICT by ANI  

By Pinaki Das
Dambur Tirthamukh (South Tripura), Jan.15 (ANI): About 200,000 took a holy dip in the River Gomati, despite a chilling temperature, on the occasion of Poush Sankranti at the famous Tirthamukh fair here.
A dip in the River Gomati, on this occasion, is believed to wash away earthly sins, hence, the occasion witnesses one of the largest congregations of people in the region.
Tribal and non-tribal Hindus started taking bath since midnight. This occasion is also known as Makar Sankranti. The main period of bathing is on the last day of Poush, the ninth month of Hindu calendar, on which the day and night are of equal hours.
Amidst the freezing cold weather, with the temperature touching between 0 to 5 degrees Celsius and the dense fog outside, the devotees took a dip in the river and prayed to Lord Sun on this auspicious day. They pray to seek prosperity and happiness in life.
Celebration continues throughout the night and the crowd increases with the fall of night.
Tribals and non-tribals jointly celebrate this day in Tripura spreading the message of oneness, the spirit of brotherhood and exhibition of exuberance, while thanking the almighty for a bountiful life on earth.
Makar Sankranti is the day when Surya, the sun god of Hindus begins its ascendancy and enters into the Northern Hemisphere (the Tropic of Capricorn). ”Makar” means Capricorn and ”Sankranti” is transition.
Though some devotees say the tradition has a scientific basis.
Devotees pay respect to the souls of their fore-fathers (tarpan). Many of the devotees perform the rituals after the death of any family members in Hindu system as they believe that on this day, the Gate of the Heaven is open. People not just from across the country but neighbouring Bangladesh too arrive here for this one-day religious fair.
Bengalis and tribal from different places including Assam, Meghalaya and even Bangladesh gather here. They do the Hindu rituals after death and sacrifices animals in this river Gomati. This annual congregation takes place on the day of Makar Sankranti on which Bhishmadev (a prominent character of Mahabharata) had died. This is a holy pilgrimage spot, said Kangal Mani, one tribal priest.
Authorities took special measure for security and made other arrangements for the stay of the devotees on this day. About 10,000 makeshift houses made of tents were set up in a sprawling area of five kilometers on the banks of the Gomati River.
Tirthamukh, is nearly 140 kilometers southeast of Agartala, the capital of Tripura state and the river Gomati originates from here.
Meanwhile, due to chilling atmosphere, many devotees tried to beat the cold by sitting around bonfires lit with waste paper, wood and cardboard sheets.
Makar Sankranti that coincides with Bihu or Pongal is the end of the winter harvest and connected with cleaning up the old, burning down rubbish, and welcoming new crops. (ANI)

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