Ganges River India
India is probably the only country in the
world where a river is bestowed the status of a goddess. In a country where
Hindus follow practices strictly according to scriptures, ancient scripts
say that Ganges came to the earth from heaven and started flowing. Since
centuries, river Ganges has been regarded as most sacred and worshipped by
people. In the 'Purana', a very high status has been bestowed to river
Ganga. Puranas further say that Ganges is the holiest of all the shrines on
earth. Apart from men, even mean creatures like insects achieve salvation on
touching the waters of holy Ganges.
Many centres of pilgrimage are also located on the banks of the holy river.
It is believed that the sacred virtue of the river increases manifold when
it flows through these pilgrimage destinations. It is common in India to see
people taking holy dips, bathing and performing rituals on the banks of the
holy river. Even the dead are cremated on its banks with the hope that their
souls shall attain salvation.
of River Ganges
The holy river Ganga originates from the Garhwal Himalayan ranges in
Uttaranchal. The place from where the river originates is Gangotri, one of
the most sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus. There is a shrine at the place
built in the 18th century. The shrine is located at an altitude of 3,200
River Ganges originates from a cave called 'Gomukha' at an altitude of
13,800 feet. The holy river is known as Bhagirathi in this region. The holy
river is fed by the melting snows of peaks Nanda Devi, Gurla, Mandhata,
Dhaulagiri, Gesaisthan, Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest.
According to Hindu mythology , Goddess Ganga decided to descend on earth
answering the prayers of King Bhagirath. But such was her force and might
that she would have flooded the whole earth and resulted in widespread
destruction. Finally, Lord Shiva decided to receive her in his matted locks
to control her force. From his locks, many streams started flowing . It is
believed that holy river Ganges has been flowing on earth since then.
Main pilgrimage destinations on banks of Ganges
Rudraparyag is situated at the holy
confluence of Alaknanda( Ganges) and Mandakini rivers. Rudraprayag is at a
distance of 34 kms from Srinagar in Garhwal. The meeting point of rivers
Alaknanda and Mandakini in Rudraprayag has become a sacred point of worship
for Hindus. Hindus come in large numbers to take a holy dip at the point of
confluence. Thereafter, they pay obeisance at the Shiva and Jagdamba temples
located nearby. At a distance of 3 kms from this point, the famous temple of
Koteshwar on the banks of river Alaknanda (Ganga) is another revered temple.
Rudraprayag derives its name from Rudra (Lord Shiva).
Rishikesh, the Chandrabhaga stream merges with holy river Ganges. This is
another place where devotees take a holy dip with the firm belief of erasing
past sins. Rishikesh is located on the right banks of river Ganges in
Uttaranchal at an altitude of 356 metres. It is surrounded by hills on three
sides. There are many temples in Rishikesh, the most revered is Neelkanth
Haridwar, which literally means the gateway to the Gods is regarded as one
of the seven holiest places of Hinduism. It is believed that Gods left their
footprints in Haridwar. Haridwar has one of the most sacred ghats named Har
Ki Pauri. Legend has it that this ghat on the banks of river Ganges was
constructed by King Vikramaditya in the memory of his brother Bhartrihari.
Many religious rituals are performed regularly on the ghats. This includes
the famous Ganga aarti on the ghats after which thousands of earthen lamps
are set afloat in the waters. The temples of Chanda Devi and Mansa Devi are
the most revered temples of Haridwar.
In Allahabad, the rivers Ganga, Yamuna and
mythical Saraswati meet. The confluence of the rivers is called Triveni
Sangam. At the Sangam, the merging waters of Ganga and Yamuna can be clearly
seen. Devotees swarm to the place to bathe at the point of confluence. It is
also a popular practice to immerse the ashes of the dead at the Sangam.
Assisted by priests, devotees conduct many religious rituals at the place.
The Maha Kumbh Mela- the largest religious fair in India is held every 12
years in Allahabad near the Sangam.
Every day, from morning till night, river Ganges is worshipped in the
hundreds of holy ghats of Varanasi. Varanasi, more popularly known as
Benaras is regarded as an eternal city by the Hindus. The Dasaswamedh Ghat
of the place is the most revered ghat. The maha aarti on the ghats in the
evening is a very important event. Manikarnika is the main cremation ghat of
Varanasi. It is believed that once the ashes flow to river Ganges, the soul
shall rest in eternal peace. Many temples are also located on the ghats
which can be entered only after bathing in the waters of river Ganges.
Concluding her journey of the holy places of Uttaranchal and Uttar Pradesh,
holy Ganges enters the state of Bihar. River 'Gandak' coming from
Nepal merges with Ganges near Patna. One stream is known as 'Hughli' and
ultimately Ganga merges into the 'Bay of Bengal' crossing through West
Bengal. The Ganges covers a distance of 1557 miles beginning from the point
of origin till she ultimately merges into the ocean.
Ganges Tour Packages
Highlights : Temple, Ghats,
Corbett National Park, Tiger, Elephant, Kaladunghi Foothills, Taj Mahal,
Bharatpur National Park.
Features : Red fort ,
Mahatama Gandhi Memorial, Birla Temple, Ghats for Arti, Yogic Breakfast,
In-House Yoga, Asana, Dynamic yoga, Advance yoga, Vashist Gufa, Ganges,
Saint Vasistha, Garhwal Himalayas, Vipasana Class, Red fort, Taj Mahal,
Fatehpur Sikri, Amber Fort.
Highlights : Red Fort, Qutub
Minar, Bhagirathi River, Gangotri, Gaumukh, River Ganges, Tapovan,