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Ganga River (गगां)  Page 4

  

 Contents: 

History
Ganga in Hindu religion
Khumb Mela
Economy
Tehri dam
Ecology
Ganga River Rafting
References

  History

  Goddess Ganga

   The Ganga is mentioned in the Rig-Veda, the earliest of the Hindu scriptures. The Ganga is mentioned in the nadistuti (Rig Veda 10.75), which lists the rivers from east to west. In RV 6.45.31, the word Ganga is also mentioned, but it is not clear if the reference is to the river. RV 3.58.6 says that "your ancient home, your auspicious friendship, O Heroes, your wealth is on the banks of the Jahnavi (JahnAvyAm)". This verse could possibly refer to the Ganga. In RV 1.116.18-19, the Jahnavi and the Gangetic dolphin occur in two adjacent verses.

  During the early Indo-Aryan Ages, the Indus and the Saraswati were the major rivers, not the Ganga. But the later three Vedas seem to give much more importance to the Ganga, as shown by its numerous references. According to the Hindu Purans, Goddess Ganga used to exist only in Heaven. Then prince Bhagirath worshipped Ganga to descend on earth. This is why Ganga is also known as Bhagirathi. In the Mahabharath this story is also mentioned. In fact, Ganga is a major character in the Mahabharath, where she is the mother of Bhisma.

   Another version of the myth tells us that Ganga descended to earth to purify the souls of the 60,000 sons of  an ancient ruler, King Sagara, who had been burnt to ashes by an enraged ascetic.



  Ganga in Hindu religion

  According to Hindus the river Ganga is sacred. It is worshipped by Hindus and personified as a goddess, who holds an important place in the Hindu religion. Hindu belief holds that bathing in the river on certain occasions causes the forgiveness of sins and helps attain salvation. Many people believe that this will come from bathing in Ganga at any time. People travel from distant places to immerse the ashes of their kin in the waters of the Ganga; this immersion also is believed to send the ashes to heaven. Several places sacred to Hindus lie along the banks of the river Ganga, including Haridwar and Kashi. People carry sacred water from the Ganges that is sealed in copper pots after making the pilgrimage to Kashi. It is believed that drinking water from the Ganga with ones last breath will take the soul to heaven. Hindus also believe life is incomplete without bathing in the Ganga at least once in their lifetime.
  In most Hindu families, a vial of water from the Ganga is kept in every house. This is done because it is auspicious to have water of the Holy Ganga in the house, and also if someone is dying, that person will be able to drink its water Many Hindus believe that the water from the Ganga can cleanse a persons soul of all past sins, and that it can also cure the ill. The ancient scriptures mention that the water of Ganga carries the blessings of the Lords feet. Hence mother Ganga is also known as Visnupadi (Emanating from the Lotus feet of Supreme Lord Sri Visnu). Some of the most important Hindu festivals and religious congregations are celebrated on the banks of the river Ganga such as the Kumbh Mela or the Kumbh Fair and the Chhat Puja.

   Around 70 million Hindus from around the world participated in Kumbh Mela at the Hindu Holy city Prayaga (also known as Allahabad). The most important city sacred to Hinduism on the banks of the River Ganga is Varanasi or Banaras. It has hundreds of temples along the banks of the Ganga often get flooded during the rains.This city, along the banks of the Ganga, is an important place of worship for the Hindus as well as a cremation ground.

  Chhath an ancient Hindu festival dedicated to the worship of the Lord Sun (सूर्य)  is mainly celebrated in northeast region of India in Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, some parts of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand on the banks of Ganga  This year on November 12, 2010 Chath Puja  the urban populace prefer to visit other water bodies like ponds or lakes or remain confined to their homes for performing the Chhath rituals as river Ganga has shifted away at different ghats and its water stands highly contaminated  

  Khumb Mela

   Kumbh Mela (कुम्भ मेला) the largest religious gathering on earth, is held every 12 years on the banks of the Triveni Sangam - the confluence of the holy rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. The Mela alternates between Nasik, Allahabad, Ujjain and Haridwar every three years. The one celebrated at the Holy Sangam in Allahabad is the largest and holiest of them. The Mela is attended by millions of devotees, including Sadhus. A holy dip in the sacred waters is believed to cleanse the soul.

   Lord shiva
   Lord Shiva (शिव)

Economy

  The flora and fauna found along Ganga banks are vital to nutrient and water conservation, and control of soil erosion.  451 million people living in its basin are directly and indirectly dependent upon the Ganga. Watered by the monsoons, this silt-enriched land produces a significant portion of the rice, wheat, millet, sugar, and barley needed to feed the world's second most populous nation. The rain feds the land, dilutes the river's muddy stream, flushes out excess sediment and suspended matter, and revitalizes the river where its flow was sluggish.  The Ganges and its tributaries provide a perennial source of irrigation to a large area. The Ganges can swell a thousand-fold during the monsoons.

  Haridwar, Allahabad, and Varanasi are the the source of tourism and  attract thousands of pilgrims to its waters.  Thousands of Hindu pilgrims arrive at these three towns to take a dip in the Ganges, which is believed to cleanse oneself of sins and help attain salvation. 

Tehri dam

 The most controversial Tehri dam is the main dam of the Tehri Hydro Project on the rivers Bhagirathi (one of the major tributary of the river Ganga) located near Tehri in Uttarakhand. It is a multi purpose river valley project, towering 855 feet (261 m). The main dam at Tehri is the 8th tallest dam in the world. The dams projected capabilities include a power generation capacity of 2400 MW, irrigation stabilization to an area of 6,000 km², an additional area of 2,700 km² of irrigation stabilization and a supply of 270 million gallons (1.23 million cubic metres) of drinking water  to industrialized cities in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The dam project was approved in 1972 and construction was started in 1978. The dam is  operational since July 2006.  Until March 2008, a sum of Rs 8,298 crore had been spent on the dam, far outweighing the initial planned costs. Its projected power generating capacity was 2,400 MW. Currently, it is generating only 1,000 MW, less than half its capacity.

Ecology

 The Ganga has been described by the World Wildlife Fund as one of the world’s top ten rivers at risk. It has over 140 fish species, 90 amphibian species, and five areas which support birds found nowhere else in the world. According to studies reported by environmental engineer D.S. Bhargava of the University of Roorkee, the Ganges decomposes organic waste 15 to 25 times faster than other rivers.  The Ganges has an extraordinarily high rate of reaeration, the process by which it absorbs atmospheric oxygen. When organic waste is dropped into it, as much as 60 per cent of the BOD is processed within an hour. The water quality samples also suggest that the Ganges retains DO much longer than does water from other rivers.

  In a recent finding, the scientists have observed that various species of fishes which helped in keeping the river water clean are facing extinction. In its place, numerous marine species are thriving in the river. Marine species like Sea Bass, Rostellascaris, Xenentodon Cancilla, Clarius Gariepinus or Thai Magur have been found in the fresh water of Ganga in Allahabad and its surrounding districts.

  Gangetic dolphins were once found in abundance in the river Ganges. But over the years a steady increase in pollution in the river has dwindled the population of Dolphins. River Dolphin declared as National Aquatic Animal and on January 19, 2010, Ministry of Environment and Forests included in the Schedule I for the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.  According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Gangetic dolphins are in grave danger with their population declining at a rate of 10 percent annually. Industrial discharges, sewage, pesticides and the rotting remains of dead bodies have increased pollution levels in the River Ganges over the years despite government promises to clean-up the holy river.

  Ganga River Rafting

 The river Ganga rises in the Himalayan glaciers, Gangotri and flows through various serene jungles, hills and comes in plane at Rishikesh  Rishikesh is well known destination for adventure sports like River Rafting, Bungee jumping, Flying Fox, Rock climbing, repelling, trekking, kayaking and camping. Rafting with camping is always the first choice of Rishikesh visitor

  

   Ram teri Ganga maili

 

   References

 1. Kishore, Kaushal (2008). The Holy Ganga    
  2. Singh, Munendra; Singh, Amit K. (2007), "Bibliography of Environmental Studies in Natural Characteristics and Anthropogenic Influences on the Ganga River" 
  3.Puttick, Elizabeth (2008), "Mother Ganges, India's Sacred River"
  4. Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition ed. . 2013. "Ganges River"
  5. Prakash, B.; Sudhir Kumar, M. Someshwar Rao, S.C. Giri (2000). "Holocene tectonic movements and stress field in the western Gangetic plains".  
  6. Pranab Kumar Parua (2010)."The Ganga: water use in the Indian subcontinent."

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