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<< Indian Himalayas << About Himalayas >> << Rivers of Himalayas >> << Ganga River >>

Ganga River

Gangotri Glacier
14,000 ft.
Holiest of All Rivers
Three Major Parts Of the Lahaul Region
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 death.

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 Himalayan Rivers

Kali Sarda Rafting
Duration : 10 Nights / 11 Days
Day to Day
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Zanskar and Indus River Rafting
Duration : 13 Nights / 14 Days
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Indus River Expedition
Duration : 13 Nights and 14 Days
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Tons River Rafting
Duration : 07 Days
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River Rafting Deoprayag-Kaudiyala-Shivpuri
Duration : 04 Days
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Brahmputra River Rafting Tour
Duration : 18 Days
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White Water Rafting Rishikesh
Duration : 03 Days
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