Kolkata, Jan 14 (IANS) Over half a million pilgrims on Sunday took a holy dip in the Ganga at the spot where it flows out into the Bay of Bengal, on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.
Like every year, the ocean of pilgrims jostled for space at the annual Gangasagar Fair since early in the morning despite a biting cold.
About 150 km from Kolkata in South 24 Parganas district, the Gangasagar island is considered auspicious by Hindus who gather on Makar Sankranti for a holy dip and to offer coconuts at the Kapil Muni temple.
The government deployed around 3,000 policemen and pressed into service seven drones to keep a tab on the safety of pilgrims.
In a first of its kind, the officials are equipped with satellite phones to ensure uninterrupted connectivity during the Mela.
There are 500 CCTV cameras installed along the over 100 km route from Babughat in Kolkata to the Sagar Island.
Around 55 giant LED screens will keep pilgrims updated about the timings and tariff of trains, buses and ferries, tide timings as well as safety precautions.