‘ Lakhi Mela’- which is celebrated at Garhmukteshwar, an old sacred place, presents an amazing scene. More than twenty lakhs people from Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana , Rajasthan , Punjab , and other states of India come to the ‘ mela’, and dip into the holy Ganga.
It is said that there is an old story behind this fair. People even today believe the story. No body can comment on their belief. But it is certain that the fair has been celebrated for the last many centuries. It is said that at this place ‘Shivganas’ had got salvation from the curse of Durvasa Rishi. Since then it was called Ganamukteshwar. There is a story in Shiva Purana regarding this episode. Rishi Durvasa was meditating into a cave at Mandrachal hill where Shivganas arrived wandering. They got an idea to tease Rishi Durvasa and they implemented it. Rishi Durvasa is known for his angry -temperament. So he immediately cursed them – although you belong to Lord Shiva, even then you would suffer a lot into the ‘Pisach Yoni’. Hearing the curse, they started trembling and went to Lord Shiva. They narrated him the whole story. Hearing their fable, Lord Shiva told them that he couldn’t help them in this matter. Rishi Durvasa could only help them if he wanted to do so. Shivgana went to Rishi Durvasa and lay down at his feet. They began to pray for some relief. Rishi Durvasa said, ‘I don’t know how to take back the curse, but I tell you a method to get some relief from the curse. There is an old holy place called Shiv Vallabh near Hastina Pur. If you meditate there you will get rid of it.’
After sometime, these Shivgana got the ‘Pishash Yoni’; they went to Shivvallabh area and did meditation religiously. Seeing their ‘Tapasaya’,Lord Shiva became happy, and Durvasa Rishi also got emotions for them. In this way, These Shivgana got freedom from ‘Pishash Yoni’. Since then the place had been called ‘Ganmukteshwar’, later on it was called ‘Garhmukeshwar’.