Many rivers have nourished humans in our infinite history. Some of the greatest ancient civilizations had been born on the banks of rivers. However, none of these rivers has received the same recognition as the Ganges. Only the great Nile, which sustains Egyptian civilization, can be compared to the greatness of the Ganges.
The Ganges River stretches for 2,510 km in India, from the Himalayan peaks to the ocean in the Bay of Bengal. Along its journey, this river provides life for about four hundred million people.
It passes through more than a hundred cities large and small, some of which are the most populous and oldest cities on earth. The Ganges is like a vein, carrying the lifeblood of India through the subcontinent. Feed and support the people.
Yet this is a common thing for the world's great rivers, feeding the people around them.
The Ganges River is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, as well as being the holiest river in human history.
Why is the Ganges river so important and sacred in Hinduism?
In Hinduism, water is considered sacred and extraordinary. Water is taken in hand when saying a prayer. It is also considered to have spiritual and natural cleansing powers to cleanse the body of sins. But of all the water, it is the Ganges river which is considered the most sacred. This is the purest gift of nature for Hindus.
Hindus also believe that life is incomplete without bathing in the river Ganges, at least once in a lifetime. Millions of people who come to the river Ganges come with a strong belief that bathing in this river will wash away their sins. Even just looking at the river Ganges can help in the journey to salvation.
These are all truly unforgettable and life changing experiences. Everyone can benefit from visiting the Ganges at some point in their life.
They believe that drinking Ganges water during their last breath will take their soul to heaven. “Pooja” or ritual is not complete without the water of the Ganges.
The Ganges River, personified as the goddess Ganga, holds an important position in the Hindu pantheon. Depictions of the goddess Ganga vary, but are usually depicted as a beautiful woman with a white crown. His “divine vehicle” is “Makara”, a creature with the head of a crocodile and the tail of a dolphin.
He is depicted with two or four hands, and holding various objects. Goddess Ganga is generally seen as a provider and a mother figure. Often called "Ma Ganga" or "Gangga Mata" (mother) by Hindus. As befits a mother, she accepts and forgives everyone.
In Hindu mythology, Ganga is the only goddess associated with the three important gods: Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma.
The Goddess asked Shiva to marry her, but she refused and Shiva married Parvathi. However, Ganga was given the grace by Shiva to remain pure until the end of the universe and was given the power to wash away sins.
The Ganges came down from heaven to earth. Therefore, this river can be a door to return from earth to heaven for Hindus. This river is also considered to be the only river flowing from the three worlds: Heaven (Swarga), Earth (Prithvi), and Hell (Patala).
To this day, true followers of Hinduism believe that the Ganges is not just a river but a true goddess. Bathing in the holy Ganges river can wash away all sins.
The Ganges is believed to purify all places in its path. So it's no wonder that every year millions of pilgrims visit Haridwar, Rishikesh, Varanasi, Patna, Kolkata and Gangasagar. All these cities are religious centers located on the banks of the river Ganges.
Millions of Hindus also bring the water of the Ganges into their homes to continue their purification.
These values are the beliefs that unite Hindus in India, despite their various differences.