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Ganga River >>
Origin of Ganges
Holiest of All Rivers
Three Major Parts Of the Lahaul Region
Courses Taken By Ganges
Rishikesh, Haridwar, Varanasi, Prayag
The River Ganges (Ganga
in Indian languages) is a major river in northern ndia. It originates as the
Bhagirathi from the Gangotri Glacier in the Uttaranchal Himalaya and joins the
Alaknanda near Deoprayag to form the Ganga. Then on, the Ganga flows across the
large plains of North India (called the Gangetic Plains) and empties into the
Bay of Bengal after dividing up into many distributaries. One of them is the
Hoogli River near Kolkata, another major distributaries being the Padma River
that enters Bangladesh.
The total length of the river
is about 2,507km (1,558 mi). One of the densest human population belts on earth
is built around the Ganges.
The region encompassing the
delta near the Bay of Bengal coast is known as The Sundarbans (Beautiful
Forests) – a region of thick mangrove forests, and one of the major habitats
of the Royal Bengal tiger.
The Ganges Basin is incredibly
fertile and, at present, about one in every 12 people in the world (8%) live in
its catchments area. However, due to this incredible concentration of
population, pollution and destruction of habitats is increasing at an alarming
rate in the region.
The Yamuna River — a major
river in its own right, and nearly as sacred — is a tributary of the Ganga, and
their confluence is near what is the site of the traditional holy Hindu city of
Prayag, now known as Allahbad.
Two species of dolphin can be
found in the Ganges, the Ganges River Dolphin and the Irrawaddy Dolphin. The
Ganges is also notable in that it contains a rare species of freshwater shark,
Glyphs genetics about which little is known.
The Ganga in Hinduism - The
Ganga is personified in Hinduism as a goddess: Ma (Mother) Ganga, mother of
Karttikeya by Agni.
Several places sacred to Hindus
lie along the banks of the river Ganga, including Haridwar and Varanasi. It is
believed that taking a dip in the river will wash away one's sins, and that
having one's ashes disposed of in the Ganga after death may improve one's next
life or even allow Moksha to be attained sooner. Devout Hindus make pilgrimages
to bathe in the Ganga and to meditate on its banks.
According to the mythological
legend, Brahma collected the sweat of Vishnu's feet and created Ganga. Being
touched by two members of the Trimurthi, Ganga became very holy.
Several years later, a king
named Sagar magically acquired sixty thousand sons. One day, King Sagar
performed a ritual of worship for the good of the Kingdom. One of the integral
parts of the ritual was a horse, which was stolen by the jealous Indra. Sagar
sent all his sons all over the Earth to search for the horse. They found it in
the Underworld next to a penitent sage Kapila. Believing that the sage had
stolen the horse, they hurled insults at him and caused his penance to be
disturbed. The sage opened his eyes for the first time in several years, and
looked at the sons of Sagar. With this glance, all sixty thousand were burnt to
Legends & Myths - The Ganga has
an exalted position in the Hindu ethos. It is repeatedly invoked in the Vedas,
the Puranas, and the two Indian epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Ganga
is a goddess, Ganga devi, one of two daughters of Meru (the Himalayas), the
other being Uma, consort of Shiva. In her youth, Indra had asked for Ganga to be
given to heaven to soothe the Gods with its cool waters. The story of its
descent to earth appears in slightly different forms in Ramayana, Mahabharata
and in the Puranas. These myths are variously dated between 2000 to 400 BC.
The Ganges has many names associated with its many roles in Sanskrit mythology.
Bhagiratha himself is the source of the name Bhagirathi (of Bhagiratha), which
is its initial stream, but is also another name for the Hooghly. At one point,
Bhagiratha went too close to the sage Jahnu's meditation site, and the disturbed
hermit immediately gulped up all the waters. Eventually, after more persuasion
from Bhagiratha, the sage yielded the waters, but Ganges retained the name "Jahnavi".
Water from the Ganga has the recursive property that any water mixed with even
the minutest quantity of Ganga water becomes Ganga water, and inherits its
healing and other holy properties. Also, despite its many impurities, Ganga
water does not rot or stink if stored for several days.
Water Rafting on
Ganges River Rishikesh
The rafting experience of the
Ganges starts at a very calm pace and rafters can easily indulge in some
lighthearted racing adventure. But as the rafts approach the rapids, the riders
have to put all their concentration on-board and manoeuvre the oars in a
programmed fashion. Then just as the rafts hit the first series of the
fast-moving water, let the oars go limp and ride the waves, being tossed up and
about, in return.
As the rafter faces more and more stronger rapids, his balancing skills also
grow stronger. But the most surprising fact is, as the raft reaches the last
signpost ahead of Rishikesh, the Ganga suddenly turns calm. Riding the
Ganges is an exhilarating experience and its this apparent invincible power of
this river that has attracted the adventurer to the challenging sport of river
rafting. Even the leading rafting experts say that Indian rivers have the
potential of having some of the most exciting stretches of white water rafting
in the world and the most popular river rafting choices in India are the Ganga,
the Bhagirathi, the Alaknanda.
Rafting Tours on
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