During the Satya yuga king Sagara performed a horse sacrifice to prove his supremacy. On seeing this, Indra, the Lord of heaven, became fearful so he decided to steal the horse. He left the horse at the ashram of Kapiladeva, who was in deep meditation. King Sagara’s 60 000 sons were sent to find the horse. When they found the horse at the ashram of Kapila muni, they tought that he stole the horse and decided to attack them. Great rishi was disturbed in his meditation so he opened one eye and burned all the 60 000 sons to ashes.
When king Sagara heared what happend to his sons, he sent his grandson Amsuman to get the horse back. Kapiladeva returned the horse and told the king that his sons were burned because they disturbed his meditation. He said that they could be saved if the goddess Ganga descended to earth and bathed them in her waters.
King Sagara’s great great grandson, Bhagiratha did great tapasya to free the sons of king Sagara. Pleased with his tapasya, mother Ganga agreed to come down to the earth. She told him that her force would be too great for the earth to handle, and that she needed someoone to buffer the fall.
King Bhagiratha them started to worship Lord Shiva. Being pleased with his worship Lord Shiva agreed to accept the powerful force of the descending river on his head. King Bhagiratha then preceded the holy river with his chariot and ripped open a gorge to allow her to flow.
The river followerd the king to Ganga Sagar at the Bay of Bengal, where was the ashram of Kapiladev. The Ganga then bathed the remains of the king Sagara’s 60 000 sons and returned them to their eternal position.