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Friday, July 29, 2011

Holy Rivers of India - GANGA RIVER

Among the most distinctive features of India are its rivers, which holds the highly religious importance among its people. In India, water has been an object of worship from time immemorial. The rivers in India are considered as God and Goddess and are even worshiped among the Hindus. It has diverse socio-religious uses and plays a central role in many religious ceremonies and rites. The various rivers have different legends about their origins. Now we can see through the significance of some of the sacred rivers of INDIA...........................................................................


Ganga is the sacred river of India. Ganga originated from the Gangotri Glacier , which is located in the western Himalayas. It is one of the major rivers of India, which is approximately 1557 miles long. It flows into the eastward directions and empties into the Bay of Bengal. The Ganges, originates in the Himalayas at Gaumukh flowing into the bay of Bay of Bengal is the most sacred river of India and the longest river in India. This river that runs for 1,560 miles from the Himalayas all the way to the Bay of Bengal is more than just flowing water. This river is life, purity, and a goddess to the people of India.

There are many stories as to how river Ganga came down from haven to earth. According to the Indian ancient books, King Sagar had sixty thousand sons who were burnt to ashes due to the anger of saint Kapil Muni. They blamed that the saint has stolen a horse of the ritual yagna of King Sagar. King Sagar took suggestion from various saints regarding the salvations of his sons. They all suggested that if the Holy Ganga is brought from the haven and the ashes of his sons were dipped in it, their souls will definitely achieve nirvana or moksha. King Sagar requested his son Bhagirath to worship Lord Brahma. He does the same for many years. When Brahmaji was pleased, he asked him to release Ganga from his Kamandal and let it flow on the earth. Brahma told that he would do as such but the earth will not be able to tolerate the extreme velocity of Ganga. That is the reason Lord Shiva received Ganga on his head. Lord Shiva did so but somehow Ganga got stuck in his hair. King again worshiped Shiva to release Ganga from his hair. Since than Ganga has been flowing on earth and is worshiped by billions.

Ganga is regarded as the holy river of India. According to the Hindu beliefs a dip in the Ganga water can wash away all the sins. Thousand of people spend the last days of their life on the bank of the river. Ganga is regarded as the Goddess and is worshiped among the Hindus. Ganga Devi is one of the two daughters of Meru (the Himalayas), the other one is Uma (the consort of Shiva). Every day the arti (prayer) is done on the bank of the river to pay homage to the Goddess Ganga. Many people in India call Ganga as Ganga Ma. Ganga finds mention in the ancient Hindu scriptures called Rig Veda.

The Ganges is a place of death and life. Hindus from all over will bring their dead. Whether a body or just ashes, the waters of the Ganga are needed to reach Pitriloka, the World of the Ancestors. Just as in the myth with King Sargas' 60,000 sons who attained heaven by Ganga pouring down her water upon their ashes, so the same waters of Ganga are needed for the dead in the Hindu belief today. Without this, the dead will exist only in a limbo of suffering, and would be troublesome spirits to those still living on earth. The waters of the Ganges are called amrita, the "nectar of immoratality".

For the living, bathing in the Ganges is just as important. Hindus will travel miles and miles to have their sins washed away in these holy waters. For years Hindus have declared that there is nothing quite as cleansing as the living waters of the River of Heaven. This "pure" water is suppose to wash their sins away.

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