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The Ganges (/ˈɡændʒiːz/ gan-jeez), also Ganga (Hindi: [ˈɡəŋɡaː]), is a trans-boundary river of India andBangladesh. The 2,525 km (1,569 mi) river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. It is the second largest river in the World by discharge.[4] DELL Alienware m15x Series CPU FAN

The Ganges basin is the most heavily populated river basin in the world, with over 400 million people and a population density of about 1,000 inhabitants per square mile (390 /km2).[5]

The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus[6] and is also a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs.[7] It is worshipped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism.[8] DELL Alienware PR2H1 Series CPU FAN

It has also been important historically: many former provincial or imperial capitals (such as Patliputra,[9] Kannauj,[9]Kara, Kashi, Allahabad, Murshidabad, Munger, Baharampur, Kampilya and Kolkata) have been located on its banks.

The Ganges was ranked among the five most polluted rivers of the world in 2007,[10] with fecal coliform levels in the river near Varanasi more than one hundred times the official Indian government limits.[11DELL Inspiron 1100 Series CPU FAN

Pollution threatens not only humans, but also more than 140 fish species, 90 amphibian species and the endangered Ganges river dolphin.[10] The Ganga Action Plan, an environmental initiative to clean up the river, has been a major failure thus far,[12][13][14] due to corruption and lack of technical expertise,[15] lack of good environmental planning,[16] and lack of support from religious authorities. DELL Inspiron 1110 Series CPU FAN

The Ganges begins at the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers. The Bhagirathi is considered to be the true source in Hindu culture and mythology, although the Alaknanda is longer.[18][19] The headwaters of the Alakananda are formed by snowmelt from such peaks as Nanda Devi, Trisul, and Kamet. The Bhagirathi rises at the foot of Gangotri Glacier, at Gaumukh, at an elevation of 3,892 m (12,769 ft).[20] DELL Inspiron 1150 Series CPU FAN
Although many small streams comprise the headwaters of the Ganges, the six longest and their five confluences are considered sacred. The six headstreams are the Alaknanda, Dhauliganga, Nandakini, Pindar, Mandakini, andBhagirathi rivers. The five confluences, known as the Panch Prayag, are all along the Alaknanda. They are, in downstream order, Vishnuprayag, where the Dhauliganga joins the Alaknanda; DELL Inspiron 11Z Series CPU FAN

, where the Nandakini joins;Karnaprayag, where the Pindar joins, Rudraprayag, where the Mandakini joins; and finally, Devprayag, where the Bhagirathi joins the Alaknanda to form the Ganges River proper.[18]

After flowing 250 kilometres (160 mi)[20] through its narrow Himalayan valley, the Ganges emerges from the mountains atRishikesh, then debouches onto the Gangetic Plain at the pilgrimage town of Haridwar.[18] DELL Inspiron 1300 Series CPU FAN
At Haridwar, a dam diverts some of its waters into the Ganges Canal, which irrigates the Doab region of Uttar Pradesh, whereas the river, whose course has been roughly southwest until this point, now begins to flow southeast through the plains of northern India.

The Ganges follows an 800-kilometre (500 mi) arching course passing through the cities of Kannauj, DELL Inspiron 1318 CPU FAN
Farukhabad, and Kanpur. Along the way it is joined by the Ramganga, which contributes an average annual flow of about 500 m3/s (18,000 cu ft/s).[21] The Ganges joins the Yamuna at the Triveni Sangam at Allahabad, a holy confluence in Hinduism. At their confluence the Yamuna is larger than the Ganges, contributing about 2,950 m3/s (104,000 cu ft/s),[21] or about 58.5% of the combined flow.[22] DELL Inspiron 13R Series CPU FAN

Now flowing east, the river meets the Tamsa River (also called Tons), which flows north from the Kaimur Range and contributes an average flow of about 190 m3/s (6,700 cu ft/s). After the Tamsa the Gomti River joins, flowing south from the Himalayas. The Gomti contributes an average annual flow of about 234 m3/s (8,300 cu ft/s). Then the Ghaghara River(Karnali River), also flowing south from the Himalayas of Nepal, joins. DELL Inspiron 1405 CPU FAN
The Ghaghara(Karnali), with its average annual flow of about 2,990 m3/s (106,000 cu ft/s), is the largest tributary of the Ganges. After the Ghaghara(Karnali) confluence the Ganges is joined from the south by the Son River, contributing about 1,000 m3/s (35,000 cu ft/s). The Gandaki River, then the Kosi River, join from the north flowing from Nepal, contributing about 1,654 m3/s (58,400 cu ft/s) and 2,166 m3/s (76,500 cu ft/s), respectively. DELL Inspiron 1410 CPU FAN
The Kosi is the third largest tributary of the Ganges, after the Ghaghara(Karnali) and Yamuna.[21]

Along the way between Allahabad and Malda, West Bengal, the Ganges passes the towns of Chunar, Mirzapur, Varanasi, Ghazipur,Patna, Bhagalpur, Ballia, Buxar, Simaria, Sultanganj, and Saidpur. At Bhagalpur, the river begins to flow south-southeast and atPakur, DELL Inspiron 1420 Series CPU FAN
it begins its attrition with the branching away of its first distributary, the Bhāgirathi-Hooghly, which goes on to become the Hooghly River. Just before the border with Bangladesh the Farakka Barrage controls the flow of the Ganges, diverting some of the water into a feeder canal linked to the Hooghly for the purpose of keeping it relatively silt-free. DELL Inspiron 1421 CPU FAN
The Hooghly River is formed by the confluence of the Bhagirathi River and Jalangi River at Nabadwip, and Hooghly has a number of tributaries of its own. The largest is the Damodar River, which is 541 km (336 mi) long, with a drainage basin of 25,820 km2(9,970 sq mi).[23] The Hooghly River empties into the Bay of Bengal near Sagar Island.[24] DELL inspiron 1425 CPU FAN
Between Malda and the Bay of Bengal, the Hooghly river passes the towns and cities of Murshidabad, Nabadwip, Kolkata and Howrah.

After entering Bangladesh, the main branch of the Ganges is known as the Padma. The Padma is joined by the Jamuna River, the largest distributary of the Brahmaputra. DELL inspiron 1427 CPU FAN
Further downstream, the Padma joins the Meghna River, the second largest distributary of the Brahmaputra, and takes on the Meghna's name as it enters the Meghna Estuary, which empties into the Bay of Bengal.

The Ganges Delta, formed mainly by the large, sediment-laden flows of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, is the world's largest delta, at about 59,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi).[3] It stretches 322 km (200 mi) along the Bay of Bengal.[5] DELL Inspiron 14R Series CPU FAN

Only the Amazon and Congo rivers have a greater average discharge than the combined flow of the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, and theSurma-Meghna river system.[5] In full flood only the Amazon is larger.

The Indian subcontinent lies atop the Indian tectonic plate, a minor plate within the Indo-Australian Plate.[26] Its defining geological processes commenced seventy-five million years ago, DELL Inspiron 1501 Series CPU FAN
when, as a part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, it began a northeastwards drift—lasting fifty million years—across the then unformed Indian Ocean.[26] The subcontinent's subsequent collision with the Eurasian Plate and subduction under it, gave rise to the Himalayas, the planet's highest mountains.[26] In the former seabed immediately south of the emerging Himalayas,DELL Inspiron 1520 Series CPU FAN
plate movement created a vast trough, which, having gradually been filled with sediment borne by the Indus and its tributaries and the Ganges and its tributaries,[27] now forms the Indo-Gangetic Plain.[28]

The Indo-Gangetic Plain is geologically known as a foredeep or foreland basin.The hydrology of the Ganges River is very complicated, especially in the Ganges Delta region. One result is different ways to determine the river's length, its discharge, and the size of its drainage basin. DELL Inspiron 1521 Series CPU FAN

The name Ganges is used for the river between the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers, in the Himalayas, and the India-Bangladesh border, near the Farakka Barrage and the first bifurcation of the river. The length of the Ganges is frequently said to be slightly over 2,500 km (1,600 mi) long, about 2,505 km (1,557 mi),[30] to 2,525 km (1,569 mi),[1][22] DELL Inspiron 1525 Series CPU FAN
or perhaps 2,550 km (1,580 mi).[31] In these cases the river's source is usually assumed to be the source of the Bhagirathi River, Gangotri Glacier at Gomukh, and its mouth being the mouth of the Meghna River on the Bay of Bengal.[1][22][30][31] Sometimes the source of the Ganges is considered to be at Haridwar, where its Himalayan headwater streams debouch onto the Gangetic Plain.[23] DELL Inspiron 1526 Series CPU FAN

In some cases, the length of the Ganges is given for its Hooghly River distributary, which is longer than its main outlet via the Meghna River, resulting in a total length of about 2,620 km (1,630 mi), from the source of the Bhagirathi,[3] or 2,135 km (1,327 mi), from Haridwar to the Hooghly's mouth.[23] In other cases the length is said to be about 2,240 km (1,390 mi), from the source of the Bhagirathi to the Bangladesh border, where its name changes to Padma.[32] DELL Inspiron 1545 Series CPU FAN

For similar reasons, sources differ over the size of the river's drainage basin. The basin covers parts of four countries,India, Nepal, China, and Bangladesh; eleven Indian states, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh,Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, and the Union Territory of Delhi.[33] DELL Inspiron 1546 Series CPU FAN
The Ganges basin, including the delta but not the Brahmaputra or Meghna basins, is about 1,080,000 km2 (420,000 sq mi), of which 861,000 km2(332,000 sq mi) are in India (about 80%), 140,000 km2 (54,000 sq mi) in Nepal (13%), 46,000 km2 (18,000 sq mi) in Bangladesh (4%), and 33,000 km2 (13,000 sq mi) in China (3%).[2] DELL Inspiron 1720 CPU FAN
Sometimes the Ganges and Brahmaputra–Meghna drainage basins are combined for a total of about 1,600,000 km2 (620,000 sq mi),[25] or 1,621,000 km2 (626,000 sq mi).[5] The combined Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin (abbreviated GBM or GMB) drainage basin is spread across Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and China.[34] DELL Inspiron 1721 CPU FAN

The Ganges basin ranges from the Himalaya and the Transhimalaya in the north, to the northern slopes of the Vindhya range in the south, from the eastern slopes of the Aravalli in the west to the Chota Nagpur plateau and the Sunderbans delta in the east. A significant portion of the discharge from the Ganges comes from the Himalayan mountain system. DELL Inspiron 2500 Series CPU FAN
Within the Himalaya, the Ganges basin spreads almost 1,200 km from the Yamuna-Satluj divide along the Simla ridge forming the boundary with the Indus basin in the west to the Singalila Ridge along the Nepal-Sikkim border forming the boundary with the Brahmaputra basin in the east. This section of the Himalaya contains 9 of the 14 highest peaks in the world over 8,000m in height, DELL Inspiron 2600 CPU FAN
including Mount Everest which is the high point of the Ganges basin. The other peaks over 8,000m in the basin are Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu,Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Annapurna and Shishapangma. The Himalayan portion of the basin includes the south-eastern portion of the state of Himachal Pradesh, the entire state of Uttarakhand, the entire country of Nepal and the extreme north-western portion of the state of West Bengal.[cDELL Inspiron 2650 CPU FAN
The discharge of the Ganges also differs by source. Frequently, discharge is described for the mouth of the Meghna River, thus combining the Ganges with the Brahmaputra and Meghna. This results in a total average annual discharge of about 38,000 m3/s (1,300,000 cu ft/s),[5] or 42,470 m3/s (1,500,000 cu ft/s).[3] In other cases the average annual discharges of the Ganges, DELL Inspiron 4000 CPU FAN
Brahmaputra, and Meghna are given separately, at about 16,650 m3/s (588,000 cu ft/s) for the Ganges, about 19,820 m3/s (700,000 cu ft/s) for the Brahmaputra, and about 5,100 m3/s (180,000 cu ft/s) for the Meghna.

The maximum peak discharge of the Ganges, as recorded at Hardinge Bridge in Bangladesh, exceeded 70,000 m3/s (2,500,000 cu ft/s).[35] The minimum recorded at the same place was about 180 m3/s (6,400 cu ft/s), in 1997.[36] DELL Inspiron 4100 CPU FAN

The hydrologic cycle in the Ganges basin is governed by the Southwest Monsoon. About 84% of the total rainfall occurs in the monsoon from June to September. Consequently, streamflow in the Ganges is highly seasonal. The average dry season to monsoon discharge ratio is about 1:6, as measured at Hardinge Bridge. This strong seasonal variation underlies many problems of land and water resource development in the region.[32] DELL Inspiron 5100 Series CPU FAN
The seasonality of flow is so acute it can cause both drought and floods. Bangladesh, in particular, frequently experiences drought during the dry season and regularly suffers extreme floods during the monsoon.[37]

In the Ganges Delta many large rivers come together, both merging and bifurcating in a complicated network of channels. The two largest rivers, the Ganges and Brahmaputra, both split into distributary channels, the largest of which merge with other large rivers before themselves joining. DELL Inspiron 5150 CPU FAN
This current channel pattern was not always the case. Over time the rivers in Ganges Delta have changed course, sometimes altering the network of channels in significant ways.

Before the late 12th century the Bhagirathi-Hooghly distributary was the main channel of the Ganges and the Padma was only a minor spill-channel. DELL Inspiron 5160 CPU FAN
The main flow of the river reached the sea not via the modern Hooghly River but rather by the Adi Ganga. Between the 12th and 16th centuries the Bhagirathi-Hooghly and Padma channels were more or less equally significant. After the 16th century the Padma grew to become the main channel of the Ganges.[24] It is thought that the Bhagirathi-Hooghly became increasingly choked with silt, DELL Inspiron 6000 Series CPU FAN
causing the main flow of the Ganges to shift to the southeast and the Padma River. By the end of the 18th century the Padma had become the main distributary of the Ganges.[38] One result of this shift to the Padma was that the Ganges joined the Meghna and Brahmaputra rivers before emptying into the Bay of Bengal, together instead of separately. The present confluence of the Ganges and Meghna formed about 150 years ago.[39] DELL Inspiron 600m Series CPU FAN

Also near the end of the 18th century, the course of the lower Brahmaputra changed dramatically, altering its relationship with the Ganges. In 1787 there was a great flood on the Teesta River, which at the time was a tributary of the Ganges-Padma River. The flood of 1787 caused the Teesta to undergo a sudden change course (an avulsion), shifting east to join the Brahmaputra and causing the Brahmaputra to shift its course south, cutting a new channel. DELL Inspiron 630m CPU FAN
This new main channel of the Brahmaputra is called the Jamuna River. It flows south to join the Ganges-Padma. Since ancient times the main flow of the Brahmaputra was more easterly, passing by the city of Mymensingh and joining the Meghna River. Today this channel is a small distributary but retains the name Brahmaputra, sometimes Old Brahmaputra.[40] DELL Inspiron 6400 Series CPU FAN
The site of the old Brahmaputra-Meghna confluence, in the locality of Langalbandh, is still considered sacred by Hindus. Near the confluence is a major early historic site called Wari-Bateshwar.

The Late Harappan period, about 1900–1300 BCE, saw the spread of Harappan settlement eastward from the Indus River basin to the Ganges-Yamuna doab, although none crossed the Ganges to settle its eastern bank. DELL Inspiron 640m CPU FAN
The disintegration of the Harappan civilization, in the early 2nd millennium BC, mark the point when the center of Indian civilization shifted from the Indus basin to the Ganges basin.[41] There may be links between the Late Harappan settlement of the Ganges basin and the archaeological culture known as "Cemetery H", the Indo-Aryan people, and the Vedic period. DELL Inspiron 700M Series CPU FAN

This river is the longest in India.[42] During the early Vedic Age of the Rigveda, the Indus and the Sarasvati River were the major sacred rivers, not the Ganges. But the later three Vedas give much more importance to the Ganges.[43] The Gangetic Plain became the centre of successive powerful states, from the Maurya Empire to the Mughal Empire.[18][44]

The first European traveler to mention the Ganges was Megasthenes (ca. 350–290 BCE). DELL Inspiron 710M Series CPU FAN
He did so several times in his workIndica: "India, again, possesses many rivers both large and navigable, which, having their sources in the mountains which stretch along the northern frontier, traverse the level country, and not a few of these, after uniting with each other, fall into the river called the Ganges. Now this river, which at its source is 30 stadia broad, DELL Inspiron 8000 Series CPU FAN
flows from north to south, and empties its waters into the ocean forming the eastern boundary of the Gangaridai, a nation which possesses a vast force of the largest-sized elephants." (Diodorus II.37)[45] In the rainy season of 1809, the lower channel of the Bhagirathi, leading to Kolkata, had been entirely shut; but in the following year it opened again, and was nearly of the same size with the upper channel; both however suffered a considerable diminution, DELL Inspiron 8100 Series CPU FAN
owing probably to the new communication opened below the Jalanggi. On the upper channel.

In 1951 a water sharing dispute arose between India and Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), after India declared its intention to build the Farakka Barrage. The original purpose of the barrage, which was completed in 1975, DELL Inspiron 8500 Series CPU FAN
was to divert up to 40,000 cu ft/s (1,100 m3/s) of water from the Ganges to the Bhagirathi-Hooghly distributary in order to restore navigability at the Port of Kolkata. It was assumed that during the worst dry season the Ganges flow would be around 50,000 to 55,000 cu ft/s (1,400 to 1,600 m3/s), thus leaving 10,000 to 15,000 cu ft/s (280 to 420 m3/s) for East Pakistan.[36] DELL Inspiron 8600 Series CPU FAN
East Pakistan objected and a protracted dispute ensued. In 1996 a 30-year treaty was signed. The terms of the agreement are complicated, but in essence they state that if the Ganges flow at Farakka was less than 70,000 cu ft/s (2,000 m3/s) then India and Bangladesh would each receive 50% of the water, with each receiving at least 35,000 cu ft/s (990 m3/s) for alternating ten day periods. DELL Inspiron 9200 Series CPU FAN
However, within a year the flow at Farakka fell to levels far below the historic average, making it impossible to implement the guaranteed sharing of water. In March 1997, flow of the Ganges in Bangladesh dropped to its lowest ever, 6,500 cu ft/s (180 m3/s). Dry season flows returned to normal levels in the years following, but efforts were made to address the problem.DELL Inspiron 9300 Series CPU FAN
One plan is for another barrage to be built in Bangladesh at Pangsha, west of Dhaka. This barrage would help Bangladesh better utilize its share of the waters of the Ganges.

The Ganges is a sacred river to Hindus along every fragment of its length. All along its course, Hindus bathe in its waters,[47]paying homage to their ancestors and to their gods by cupping the water in their hands, lifting it and letting it fall back into the river; DELL Inspiron 9400 Series CPU FAN
they offer flowers and rose petals and float shallow clay dishes filled with oil and lit with wicks (diyas).[47] On the journey back home from the Ganges, they carry small quantities of river water with them for use in rituals (Ganga jal, literally water of the Ganga).[48] When a loved one dies, Hindus bring the ashes of the deceased person to the Ganges River.[48] DELL Inspiron B120 Series CPU FANThe Ganges is the embodiment of all sacred waters in Hindu mythology.[49] Local rivers are said to be like the Ganges, and are sometimes called the local Ganges (Ganga).[49] The Kaveri river of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in Southern India is called the Ganges of the South; the Godavari, is the Ganges that was led by the sage Gautama to flow through Central India.[49] DELL Inspiron B130 Series CPU FAN
The Ganges is invoked whenever water is used in Hindu ritual, and is therefore present in all sacred waters.[49] In spite of this, nothing is more stirring for a Hindu than a dip in the actual river, especially at one of the famous tirthas such as Gangotri, Haridwar,Prayag, or Varanasi.[49] The symbolic and religious importance of the Ganges is one of the few things that Hindu India, even its skeptics, are agreed upon.[5DELL Inspiron E1405 CPU FAN
0] Jawaharlal Nehru, a religious iconoclast himself, asked for a handful of his ashes to be thrown into the Ganges.[50] "The Ganga," he wrote in his will, "is the river of India, beloved of her people, round which are intertwined her racial memories, her hopes 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." DELL Inspiron E1501 Series CPU FAN

In late May or early June every year, Hindus celebrate the avatarana or descent of the Ganges from heaven to earth.[51] The day of the celebration, Ganga Dashahara, the dashami (tenth day) of the waxing moon of the Hindu calendar month Jyestha, brings throngs of bathers to the banks of the river.[51] A soak in the Ganges on this day is said to rid the bather of ten sins (dasha = Sanskrit "ten"; hara = to destroy) or alternatively, ten lifetimes of sins.[51DELL Inspiron E1505 Series CPU FAN] Those who cannot journey to the river, however, can achieve the same results by bathing in any nearby body of water, which, for the true believer, in the Hindu tradition, takes on all the attributes of the Ganges.[51]

The avatarana is an old theme in Hinduism with a number of different versions of the story.[51] In the Vedic version, Indra, the Lord of Svarga (Heaven) slays the celestial serpent, DELL Inspiron E1705 Series CPU FAN
Vritra, releasing the celestial liquid, the soma, or the nectar of the gods which then plunges to the earth and waters it with sustenance.[51]

In the Vaishnava version of the myth, Indra has been replaced by his former helper Vishnu.[51] The heavenly waters are now a river called Vishnupadi (padi: Skt. "from the foot of").[51DELL Inspiron m140 CPU FAN] As he completes his celebrated three strides—of earth, sky, and heaven—Vishnu as Vamana stubs his toe on the vault of heaven, punches open a hole, and releases the Vishnupadi, which until now had been circling around the cosmic egg within.[52] Flowing out of the vault, she plummets down to Indra's heaven, where she is received by Dhruva, the once steadfast worshipper of Vishnu, now fixed in the sky as the polestar.[52] DELL Inspiron N3010 Series CPU FAN
Next, she streams across the sky forming the Milky Way and arrives on the moon.[52] She then flows down earthwards to Brahma's realm, a divine lotus atopMount Meru, whose petals form the earthly continents.[52] There, the divine waters break up, with one stream, the Alaknanda, flowing down one petal into Bharatvarsha (India) as the Ganges.[52]
DELL Latitude D400 Series CPU FANNandprayag

It is Shiva, however, among the major deities of the Hindu pantheon, who appears in the most widely known version of theavatarana story.[53] Told and retold in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and several Puranas, the story begins with a sage, Kapila, whose intense meditation has been disturbed by the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara. Livid at being disturbed,DELL Inspiron N4010 Series CPU FAN
sears them with his angry gaze, reduces them to ashes, and dispatches them to the netherworld. Only the waters of the Ganga, then in heaven, can bring the dead sons their salvation. A descendant of these sons, King Bhagiratha, anxious to restore his ancestors, undertakes rigorous penance and is eventually granted the prize of Ganga's descent from heaven. However, since her turbulent force would also shatter the earth,
DELL Latitude C840 Series CPU FANKapila Bhagiratha persuades Shiva in his abode on Mount Kailash to receive Ganga in the coils of his tangled hair and break her fall. Ganga descends, is tamed in Shiva's locks, and arrives in the Himalayas. She is then led by the waiting Bhagiratha down into the plains at Haridwar, across the plains first to the confluence with the Yamuna at Prayag and then to Varanasi, and eventually to Ganga Sagar, where she meets the ocean, sinks to the netherworld, and saves the sons of Sagara.[53] DELL Latitude 100L CPU FAN
honour of Bhagirath's pivotal role in the avatarana, the source stream of the Ganges in the Himalayas is namedBhagirathi, (Sanskrit, "of Bhagiratha").

Since Ganga had descended from heaven to earth, she is also the vehicle of ascent, from earth to heaven.[54] As the Triloka-patha-gamini, (Skt. triloka= "three worlds", patha = "road", gamini = "one who travels") of the Hindu tradition, she flows inheaven, DELL Latitude 120L Series CPU FAN
earth, and the netherworld, and, consequently, is a "tirtha," or crossing point of all beings, the living as well as the dead.[54] It is for this reason that the story of the avatarana is told at Shraddha ceremonies for the deceased in Hinduism, and Ganges water is used in Vedic rituals after death.[54] Among all hymns devoted to the Ganges, there are none more popular than the ones expressing the worshipers wish to breathe his last surrounded by her waters.
DELL Latitude C810 Series CPU FANIn

No place along her banks is more longed for at the moment of death by Hindus than Varanasi, the Great Cremation Ground, orMahashmshana.[54] Those who are lucky enough to die in Varanasi, are cremated on the banks of the Ganges, and are granted instant salvation.[56] If the death has occurred elsewhere, salvation can be achieved by immersing the ashes in the Ganges.[56]IDELL Latitude 131L Series CPU FAN
the ashes have been immersed in another body of water, a relative can still gain salvation for the deceased by journeying to the Ganges, if possible during the lunar "fortnight of the ancestors" in the Hindu calendar month of Ashwin (September or October), and performing the Shraddha rites.[56] DELL Latitude C500 CPU FAN

Hindus also perform pinda pradana, a rite for the dead, in which balls of rice and sesame seed are offered to the Ganges while the names of the deceased relatives are recited.[57] Every sesame seed in every ball thus offered, according to one story, assures a thousand years of heavenly salvation for the each relative.[57] Indeed, the Ganges is so important in the rituals after death that the Mahabharata, in one of its popular ślokas, says, "DELL Latitude C540 CPU FAN
If only (one) bone of a (deceased) person should touch the water of the Ganges, that person shall dwell honoured in heaven."[58] As if to illustrate this truism, the Kashi Khanda(Varanasi Chapter) of the Skanda Purana recounts the remarkable story of Vahika, a profligate and unrepentant sinner, who is killed by a tiger in the forest. His soul arrives before Yama, the Lord of Death, to be judged for the hereafter. DELL Latitude C600 CPU FAN
Having no compensating virtue, Vahika's soul is at once dispatched to hell. While this is happening, his body on earth, however, is being picked at by vultures, one of whom flies away with a foot bone. Another bird comes after the vulture, and in fighting him off, the vulture accidentally drops the bone into the Ganges below. Blessed by this happenstance, Vahika, on his way to hell, is rescued by a celestial chariot which takes him instead to heaven. DELL Latitude C610 CPU FAN

Hindus consider the waters of the Ganges to be both pure and purifying.[60] Nothing reclaims order from disorder more than the waters of the Ganges.[61] Moving water, as in a river, is considered purifying in Hindu culture because it is thought to both absorb impurities and take them away.[
DELL Latitude C800 Series CPU FANf] The swiftly moving Ganges, especially in its upper reaches, where a bather has to grasp an anchored chain in order to not be carried away, is considered especially purifying.[61] What the Ganges removes, however, is not necessarily physical dirt, but symbolic dirt; it wipes away the sins of the bather, not just of the present, but of a lifetime.[61] 61DELL Latitude C640 CPU FAN

A popular paean to the Ganges is the Ganga Lahiri composed by a seventeenth century poet Jagannatha who, legend has it, was turned out of his Hindu Brahmin caste for carrying on an affair with a Muslim woman. Having attempted futilely to be rehabilitated within the Hindu fold, the poet finally appeals to Ganga, the hope of the hopeless, and the comforter of last resort.DELL Latitude D410 Series CPU FAN
Along with his beloved, Jagannatha sits at the top of the flight of steps leading to the water at the famous PanchgangaGhat in Varanasi. As he recites each verse of the poem, the water of the Ganges rises up one step, until in the end it envelops the lovers and carry them away.

Ganga is a consort to all three major male deities of Hinduism.[63] DELL Latitude D420 CPU FAN As Brahma's partner she always travels with him in the form of water in his kamandalu (water-pot).[63] She is also Vishnu's consort.[63] Not only does she emanate from his foot as Vishnupadi in the avatarana story, but is also, with Sarasvati andLakshmi, one of his co-wives.[63] In one popular story, envious of being outdone by each other, the co-wives begin to quarrel. While Lakshmi attempts to mediate the quarrel, DELL Latitude D430 CPU FAN
Ganga and Sarasvati, heap misfortune on each other. They curse each other to become rivers, and to carry within them, by washing, the sins of their human worshippers. Soon their husband, Vishnu, arrives and decides to calm the situation by separating the goddesses. DELL Latitude D500 Series CPU FAN
He orders Sarasvati to become the wife of Brahma, Ganga to become the wife of Shiva, and Lakshmi, as the blameless conciliator, to remain as his own wife. Ganga and Sarasvati, however, are so distraught at this dispensation, and wail so loudly, that Vishnu is forced to take back his words. Consequently, in their lives as rivers they are still thought to be with him. DELL Latitude D505 Series CPU FAN
It is Shiva's relationship with Ganga, that is the best-known in Ganges mythology.[65] Her descent, the avatarana is not a one time event, but a continuously occurring one in which she is forever falling from heaven into his locks and being forever tamed.[65] Shiva, is depicted in Hindu iconography as Gangadhara, the "Bearer of the Ganga," with Ganga, shown as spout of water, rising from his hair.[65] DELL Latitude D510 Series CPU FAN
The Shiva-Ganga relationship is both perpetual and intimate.[65] Shiva is sometimes called Uma-Ganga-Patiswara ("Husband and Lord of Uma (Parvati) and Ganga"), and Ganga often arouses the jealousy of Shiva's better-known consort.[65]

Ganga is the shakti or the moving, restless, rolling energy in the form of which the otherwise recluse and unapproachable Shiva appears on earth.[63] DELL Latitude D531 CPU FAN
As water, this moving energy can be felt, tasted, and absorbed.[63] The war-god Skanda addresses the sageAgastya in the Kashi Khand of the Skanda Purana in these words:

One should not be amazed ... that this Ganges is really Power, for is she not the Supreme Shakti of the Eternal Shiva, taken in the form of water? DELL Latitude D600 Series CPU FAN

This Ganges, filled with the sweet wine of compassion, was sent out for the salvation of the world by Shiva, the Lord of the Lords.
Good people should not think this Triple-Pathed River to be like the thousand other earthly rivers, filled with water.

The Ganges is also the mother, the Ganga Mata (mata="mother") of Hindu worship and culture, accepting all and forgiving all.[62DELL Latitude D610 Series CPU FAN

]Unlike other goddesses, she has no destructive or fearsome aspect, destructive though she might be as a river in nature.[62] She is also a mother to other gods.[66] She accepts Shiva's incandescent seed from the fire-god Agni, which is too hot for this world, and cools it in her waters.[66] This union produces Skanda, or Kartikeya, the god of war.[66] In the Mahabharata, she is the wife of Shantanu, and the mother of heroic warrior-patriarch, Bhishma.[6DELL Latitude D620 CPU FAN
6] When Bhishma is mortally wounded in battle, Ganga comes out of the water in human form and weeps uncontrollably over his body.[66] Hence Ganga is not different from Parvati.

The Ganges is the distilled lifeblood of the Hindu tradition, of its divinities, holy books, and enlightenment.[63] As such, her worship does not require the usual rites of invocation (avahana) at the beginning and dismissal (visarjana) at the end, required in the worship of other gods.[63] DELL Latitude D630 CPU FAN
Her divinity is immediate and everlasting.

Early in ancient Indian culture, the river Ganges was associated with fecundity, its redeeming waters and its rich silt providing sustenance to all who lived along its banks.[67] A counterpoise to the dazzling heat of the Indian summer, the Ganges came to be imbued with magical qualities and to be revered in anthropomorphic form.[68] DELL Latitude D800 Series CPU FAN
By the 5th century CE, an elaborate mythology surrounded the Ganges, now a goddess in her own right, and a symbol for all rivers of India.[69] Hindu temples all over India had statues and reliefs of the goddess carved at their entrances, symbolically washing the sins of arriving worshippers and guarding the gods within.[70] As protector of the sanctum sanctorum, the goddess soon came to depicted with several characteristic accessories: DELL Latitude D810 Series CPU FAN
the makara (a crocodile-like undersea monster, often shown with an elephant-like trunk), the kumbha (an overfull vase), various overhead parasol-like coverings, and a gradually increasing retinue of humans.[71]

Central to the goddess's visual identification is the makara, which is also her vahana, or mount. An ancient symbol in India, it pre-dates all appearances of the goddess Ganga in art.[71] The makara has a dual symbolism. DELL Latitude D820 CPU FAN
On the one hand, it represents the life-affirming waters and plants of its environment; on the other, it represents fear, both fear of the unknown it elicits by lurking in those waters and real fear it instils by appearing in sight.[71] The earliest extant unambiguous pairing of the makara with Ganga is at Udayagiri Caves in Central India (circa 400 CE). DELL Latitude D830 CPU FAN
Here, in Cave V, flanking the main figure of Vishnu shown in his boar incarnation, two river goddesses, Ganga and Yamuna appear atop their respective mounts, makara and kurma (a turtle or tortoise).[71]

The makara is often accompanied by a gana, a small boy or child, near its mouth, as, for example, shown in the Gupta period relief from Besnagar, Central India, in the left-most frame above.[72] The gana represents both posterity and development (udbhava).[72] DELL Latitude E4200 Series CPU FAN

The pairing of the fearsome, life-destroying makara with the youthful, life-affirming gana speaks to two aspects of the Ganges herself. Although she has provided sustenance to millions, she has also brought hardship, injury, and death by causing major floods along her banks.[73] The goddess Ganga is also accompanied by a dwarf attendant, who carries a cosmetic bag, and on whom she sometimes leans, as if for support.[70] DELL Latitude E4300 Series CPU FAN
The purna kumbha or full pot of water is the second most discernible element of the Ganga iconography.[74] Appearing first also in the relief in Udayagiri Caves (5th century), it gradually appeared more frequently as the theme of the goddess matured.[74] By the seventh century it had become an established feature, as seen, for example, the Dashavatara temple, Deogarh, DELL LATITUDE E4310 Series CPU FAN
Uttar Pradesh (seventh century), the Trimurti temple, Badoli, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, and at theLakshmaneshwar temple, Kharod, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh,[74] (ninth or tenth century), and seen very clearly in frame 3 above and less clearly in the remaining frames. Worshipped even today, the full pot is emblematic of the formless Brahman, as well as of woman, of the womb, and of birth.[75DELL Latitude E5400 CPU FAN

] 

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