The Ganga is a major Indian river flowing through the plains ofNorthern India into Bangladesh.The 2510km[1557m] long river begins at the Gangotri Glacierin the central Himalayas.It drains into the Bay of Bengal through its vast delta in the Sunderbans.
COURSEThe Ganga originates in the Himalayas after theconfluence of six rivers.The streams are fed by the melting snow and ice from the glaciers.It emerges from the Himalayas at the pilgrimage townof Haridwar.
The Ganges which till this point flows in a South-Westerndirection now begins to flow in a South-Easterndirection.It is joined by the River Yamuna at a point called Sangamam a scared place in Hinduism.
It flows through the plains and enters Bangladesh. It fans out into the 350km wide Ganges Delta. It empties into the Bay of Bengal.
The Story Of The Descent Of Ganga• King Bagiratha through his penance was responsible for the descent of Ganga from Heaven to Earth• As the might of the river was too much for Earth to withstand, he prayed to Lord Shiva who caught the river in his matted hair.
HISTORYMegasthanese was the first Westerner tomention Ganges in his work Indika.Jawarharlal Nehru in his book ‘ Discovery of India’ saysThe story of the Ganges from her source to the sea is the story of India’s civilization and culture, of the rise and fall of empires ,of great and proud cities,of adventures of man…..
In Rome’s Piazza Navona, there is a fountainof four Rivers–The Ganges, The Nile, The Daunbe and TheRio De La Plata.This is the architectural creation of Bermin in1651.
RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCEThe Ganga is mentioned in the Rig-Veda, theearliest Hindu scriptures.Ancient scriptures mention that The Gangescarries the blessings of Lord Vishnu’s feet and hence the name ‘Vishnupadi’ meaning‘Emanating from the lotus feet of theSupreme Lord Vishnu’.
The Ganga is worshipped by the Hindusand personified as a Goddess.
BELIEFSThe Indian system of beliefs is based on anintimate relationship with Nature.The reverence accorded to rivers is a gestureof acknowledgement of their life sustainingabilities.
Hindu belief holds that bathing in the River causesforgiveness of sins andhelps attain salvation.
The immersion of ashes of people is believedto send the soul to Heaven.
Drinking the water of The Ganges is believedto purify the soul.
ECONOMY• The Ganges basin with its fertile soil is instrumental to the agricultural economy of India.• The Ganges with its tributaries provides a perennial source of irrigation for crops.
The two main dams at Haridwar andFarakka are a source of power generation.
The three towns holy to Hinduism – Haridwar,Varanasi and Allahabad attract thousands ofpilgrims to its waters.
The rapids of the Ganges are popular riverrafting area, attracting hundreds of adventureseekers in the summer months.
ECOLOGY • The Ganges collects large amounts of human pollutants as it flows through highly populous areas, carrying high health risk of infection. • The Ganga Action Plan has been set up under the Indian government and is attempting to build waste treatment facilities.
The Lakshman Jula is a 450feet longsuspension bridge built at Rishikesh
The Ganga Arthi at Haridwar at 7pm eachnight showing people offering flowersand lamps to the River Goddess.
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