The 2,525 km (1,569 mi) river rises in the
western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand,
and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of
North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into
the Bay of Bengal. It is the longest river of India and is
the second greatest river in the world.
In central Bangladesh it is joined by the
Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers. Their combined
waters (called the Padma River) empty into the
Bay of Bengal and form a delta 220 mi (354 km)
wide, which is shared by India and Bangladesh.
Its plain is one of the most fertile and densely
populated regions in the world. The Ganges alone
drains an area of over a million square km with a
population of over 407 million. Millions depend on
water from the holy river for several things:
drinking, bathing, agriculture, industry and other
The Ganga originates in the Himalayas after the
confluence of six rivers.
The streams are fed by the melting snow and ice
from the glaciers.
It emerges from the Himalayas at the pilgrimage town
It flows through the plains and enters Bangladesh.
It fans out into the 350km wide Ganges Delta.
It empties into the Bay of Bengal.
• King Bagiratha through his
penance was responsible for
the descent of Ganga from
Heaven to Earth
river in his
Jawarharlal Nehru in his book ‘ Discovery of India’ says
The 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…..
The Ganges basin
with its fertile soil is
instrumental to the
The Ganges with its
tributaries provides a
perennial source of
irrigation for crops.
The main dams at
Farakka are a source of
The three towns holy to Hinduism – Haridwar,Varanasi
and Allahabad attract thousands of pilgrims to its
The rapids of the Ganges are popular river
rafting area, attracting hundreds of adventure
seekers in the summer months.
Today, over 29 cities, 70 towns, and
thousands of villages extend along the Ganga
banks. Nearly all of their sewage - over 1.3
billion liters per day - goes directly into the
river, along with thousands of animal
carcasses, mainly cattle. Another 260 million
liters of industrial waste are added to this by
hundreds of factories along the rivers
banksThe majority of the Ganga pollution is
organic waste, sewage, trash, food, and
human and animal remains. Over the past
century, city populations along the Ganga
have grown at a tremendous rate, while
waste-control infrastructure has remained
After two Ganga Action Plans failed to deliver the goods, seven major
IITs of the country have joined hands to find ways to clean up the
national river. In 1985, the government of India launched the Ganga
Action Plan, which was devised to clean up the river in selected areas
by installing sewage treatment plants and threatening fines and
litigation against industries that pollute.
The 2006 official audit of the Ganga Action Plan has revealed that it
has met only 39 per cent of its sewage
treatment target. The 2006 official audit of the Ganga Action Plan has
revealed that it has met only 39 per cent of its sewage