In India water is not just important for its life- support characteristics but holy Rivers are worshipped as Goddess and Mother. Holy bath in the waters of the sacred Rivers are believed to remove all sins, helps in attaining salvation and having key religious significance. Most of the ancient city of India like Haridwar, Varanasi, Prayagraj, Nasik, Patna, Ujjain etc are located on the banks of the holy Rivers. Ganga is one of the most sacred River also known as Goddess Ganga or Ma Ganga.

अलकानंदे परमानंदे कुरु करुणामयि कातरवंद्ये । तव तटनिकटे यस्य निवासः खलु वैकुंठे तस्य निवासः ॥

Legend and Importance of Most Sacred River of India – Ganga or Ganges

Ganga or Ganges, the longest and holiest River of India is in heart of crores of Hindu and Buddhist across the globe. Most ancient cities of world like Varanasi, Prayagraj, Haridwar , Kanpur, Patna etc are situated on the bank of sacred River Ganga also known as Goddess Ganga or Ma Ganga and millions of people lived here with blessing of Goddess Ganga. From ancient time River Ganga plays vital role in social, religious, cultural and economical life of people of India. Thus Goddess Ganga or Ma Ganga is famous for rituals, holy dip and believed that water of Ganga has capability to cure from many diseases and used for purification.

According to Vedic texts, long year ago in ancient time, King Bhagirath of Ikshvaku dynasty (ancestor of Lord Shree Ram) brought the goddess Ganga from heaven to earth. King did penance for thousands of year to bring Goddess Ganga, then residing in heaven to earth for salvation of his around 60000 ancestors who were cursed by Sage Kapil Muni. Only Goddess Ganga in form of water was able to help in salvation of them as suggested by many of the saints.

Thus Goddess Ganga had to come on earth but earth was not able to hold such flow thus King did penance of Lord Shiva and received boon, thus Goddess Ganga in form of water hold by Shiva on head. Thus water of Ganga descended to the Earth through the lock of hair of Lord Shiva to make whole earth religious, productive and wash out the all the sins of humans. This was 10th day of Shukla Paksha of Jyeshtha month, so celebrated as Ganga Dussehra with immense joy and devotion.

भागीरथिसुखदायिनि मातस्तव जलमहिमा निगमे ख्यातः । नाहं जाने तव महिमानं पाहि कृपामयि मामज्ञानम् ॥

Holy River Ganga or Goddess Ganga is also mentioned in one of great epic of India- Mahabharata. Kuru King Shantanu married to Goddess Ganga and Devavrata was the eighth son of Ganga also famous as Ganga Putra Bhishm.

Ganga Aarti at Haridwar – Har ki Pauri, most sacred place Brahmkund where Amrit dropped, attracts thousands of devotees every day to witness world famous Aarti and takes holy dip in River Ganga.

The Holy River Ganga originates as Bhagirathi from the Gangotri , at Gaumukh in the Himalayas at height of about 7010-m above the sea level, in the Uttarakhand district. Then Bhagirathi is joined by the Alaknanda at Dev Prayag and the combined tributary flows under the name of Ganga. Then River Ganga is joined by lot of tributaries like Yamuna, Ramganga, Sone, Gandak, Gomati, Kosi, Mahananda etc during its run of around 2,525 km through Uttarlkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar before its outfall into the Bay of Bengal.

When Water of Ganga enters in west Bengal it split in two arms at Farakka, one is Padma and other one is Bhagirathi or Hooghly.’ The Padma River flows through Bangladesh and finally meets into the Bay of Bengal at holy spot Ganga Sagar. The Bhagirathi River flows through various districts of West Bengal and finally flows into the Bay of Bengal at Holy Spot Ganga Sagar.

Ganga is world's third-largest river on the basis of discharge of water and around 500 million people of India stayed on the bank of river Ganga basin. Ganga River is also declared as “National River” and lots of bridges are built across the river Ganga. The longest bridge on river of India and second longest of Asia is Gandhi Setu or Ganga Setu or Mahatma Gandhi Setu built on River Ganga , around 5575 m long joins the Patna and Hajipur. Major dams build on river Ganga in Karnataka and Haridwar to store water and generate the hydropower. Lots of water creatures find in the water of Ganga and main attractions are dolphins.

नमामि गङ्गे तव पादपङ्कजं सुरासुरैर्वन्दितदिव्यरूपम् । भुक्तिं च मुक्तिं च ददासि नित्यं भावानुसारेण सदा नराणाम् ॥

Kumbh Mela, the biggest religious gathering of world at bank of River Ganga

Kumbh Mela, the most sacred religious festival in Hinduism celebrated four time over 12 years of period and rotates between four major pilgrimage place on bank of four holy River. One of this four is Haridwar on bank of River Ganga and another at confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and Sarswati at Prayagraj. This attracts millions of devotees at the banks of river Ganges at Haridwar and Prayagraj. The key event of the Kumbh Mela is the ritual bathing – holy dip in River for purity at the banks of the sacred river on certain special days.

Pollution in Holy River Ganga due to Human Acts

we people of India believes River Ganga as Ma Ganga, Goddess Ganga, most sacred river but due to human activity like industry waste, human waste and tradition makes River Ganga as sixth most polluted River across world. Certain projects are running by government to clean the River but yet waiting for fruitful results. But we must need to note down here, due the lockdown because of covid 19, we can observe clean and pure water in River Ganga at lots of spot where previously it was too polluted. This is the clear message to human that to stop certain activity which cause water polluted and cause of health issue of millions of people of India.