The Ganges, one of the longest rivers on the earth, is the greatest waterway in India. The river Ganga is the most sacred river, for not only the peoples of India, but for the whole human kind. They consider it as the religious center, because they depend on the river for most life function. The river starts from the round of the Himalayas, and runs through India, and Bangladesh, until it drains out into the Bay of Bengal. Its significance is not only limited to religion, but it also provides water to many villages, situated at the bank of this river. The river Ganga has a glorious place among the Hindu culture. The actuality of the river can be respectably seen in Vedas, the Purans, and the two Indian epics, the Ramayana, and the Mahabharata. When someone dies, his remains with some ashes are released into the river Ganga. Because the people believe that the soul will also become as blessed as the sacredness of the river Ganga.
“The Ganga, especially, is the river of India, beloved of her People, round which are intertwined her memories, her hops and fears, her songs of triumph, her victories and her defeats. She has been a symbol of India's age-long culture and civilization, ever changing, ever flowing, and yet ever the same Ganga.” By: Jawaharlal Nehru. Jawaharlal Nehru was the First Prime Minister of India, born in Allahabad which is on the Banks of River Ganges.
There are several views about the origin of Ganga, and one of them is – there was ruler in Ayodhya named Sagara, he organized ashwamegha yagya many times, during a sacrifice one horse was loosed, and if the horse was caught by in any kingdom, then the king of that kingdom will have to defeat the king, who organized the yagya. Each time the horse sent by the king sagar returned back, but at this time he hadn’t come, so the king sends his sixty thousand sons to find the horse. By searching they reached to vasudeva, (kapila muni,) and seeing the horse near him, they attact him, and for this mistake kapila converted all the sons into ashes. One of the grandchildren of king sagar, requested muni, to back his family. He advised the child that the water of the river Ganga, which is flowing in the heaven, would come back your family to life. After a long time the sacred river Ganga down pour on Himalayas, Bhagiratha requested lord shiva for help, and lord shiva helped out to catch the river, and saved the earth from flooding. And in this way the sacred river ganga come on the earth, to sooth her loving children, and we will alays be in the shade of “Ma Ganga”(Ganges).
The river is also known as Mandakini, Alaknanda,
Bhagirathi, and Vishnu Ganga. The river originates in
Gaumukh, in the Gangotri glacier, shaped like a cow’s
mouth. It begins at an altidude of, 14100 feet, above
sea level and runs down to 30 km, at an altitude of
1000 feet above sea level.
The river Ganga flows through uttar pradesh, and Bihar. In Allahabad the Ganga, and yamuna, joins together so this place is considered as Triveni Sangam, (a holy place). It is believed that a dip, taken in the season of Kumbh Mela, helps one to attain Moksha, (freedom from the cycle of life and death).
The Ganga is a place of birth, and death. The Hindus, from all over, brings their dead to river Ganga, where the ashes are mixed in, so that the soul of dead, will reach to Pitriloka, (the world of ancestors). A verse from the Mahabharata promises, “If only a bone of a person should touch the water of the Ganges, that person shall dwell, honored, in heaven".
Unfortunately, the pollution in the Ganges is also bringing the diseases, like dysentery, hepatics, and cholera. Money is being consuming, in purifying it. But it is still pure for those people, who get up early in the morning, and take a dip in the sacred river Ganga.
Ganga is dying, at the place it was born. Several
years of Geological research, declared that the snout
has been shrinking, at a rate of 20 meters per year
Geologist fear that the Holy River Ganga, will be dead
in next thousand years.
For years, the Ganga pollution control board has launched, the Ganga Action Plan, (GAP), which is divided into 261 programs, across the entire length and breadth of the river Ganga to save it from pollution.
Whether Ganga is being polluted, and purified, but its
beauty, and sacredness never decreases. Many people
from all over the world come, to see the astonishing
seen of Triveni Sangam, (the place of meeting
Ganga,and Yamuna,) at Allahabad.