the way as far as Hathigarh, in the 24-Parganas, near the sea, and then declared that he
could not show the rest of the way. Whereupon Ganga, in order to make sure of
reaching the spot, divided herself into a hundred mouths, thus forming the delta of the
Ganges. One of these mouths reached the cell, and, by washing the ashes, completed the
atonement for the offence of the sons of King Sagar, whose souls were thereupon admitted
Ganga thus became the sacred stream of
the hundred mouths. The people say that the sea took its name of Sagar from this legend;
and the point of junction of the river and sea at Sagar Island is a celebrated seat of
Hindu pilgrimage, to which thousands of devout pilgrims repair every year during the great
Sagar Snan (bath in the sea) is held on the auspicious Paus or Makar Sankranti day, which
is usually on the 1st of Magh month (in the middle of January). On this day the Sun
enters Capricorn. Thousands and thousands of pilgrims from all over Bengal and other
provinces go by large country boats or steamers to do ablutions, take their bath, offer
pindas to the ancestors and visit the temple of Kapila Muni there.
1 Bengal District Gazetteer, 24-Parganas by L.S.S.
OMalley, 1914, pp. 254-257.