Unique Attributes : Purity, divinity, holiness
Other Names : Jahnavi, Bhagirathi, Alaknanda, Padma, Mandakini,
Source / Origin : Gaumukh - Gangotri glacier in Uttarakhnad.
Major Cities : Varanasi, Allahabad, Haridwar, Kanpur, Patna
Vahan (Mount) : Magara (crocodile)
The most sacred of the rivers for Hindus - Ganges, it was the goddess
Ganga which incarnated itself in the form of a river for the welfare of
mankind. It is the Gangajal - the holiest of water which is used in all
the Pujas of Hindus and is believed to wash away the sins of mortal men.
The mighty river is about 2,510 km in length and flows through many
cities of India and Bangladesh. In Hindu belief Goddess Ganga was a
celestial being and descended on Earth on the request of the great king
Bhagirath to relieve his ancestors and find them a place in heaven.
Pilgrims from far and wide come to the cities in which the holy river
Ganges flows to wash away their sins. Among the Hindus even the ashes
after burning the body of a devout Hindu are submerged in the sacred
river so that the one who has left us can find a place in heaven.
Goddess Ganga is mostly represented in Hindu scripture riding on her
mount the magara (crocodile) and is dressed in white which symbolizes
her purity and celestial charisma. This is also a reflection of her
power of assimilation and all pervasiveness.
The source of origin of River Ganges is Gaumukh - the Gangotri Glacier
in the state of Uttarakhand. In Hindu belief however the ultimate point
of origin of the holy river is from the hair of Lord Shiva which makes
it even more sacred. At the riverbank everyday Arti is held in praise of
the Goddess who washes away everybody's sins. Haridwar, Rishikesh,
Allahabad and Banaras are the principal cities where people accumulate
in large numbers to witness Ganga Arti.
The visitors at the Ganga riverbank are not just Indians but people
across the globe come here to get the divine spiritual experience. In
fact the largest meeting of Hindus is at the Kumbha Mela at Prayag in
Allahabad where nearly 70 million people bathe in the holy river to wash
away their sins and seek the blessings of the divine river goddess. The
mysticism associated with Ganges River Goddess is ever alluring and
ethereal attracting many people to its fold.