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Ganges: The Sacred River of India

A continuous roaring stream flowing through the open plains, encompassing many stories within itself, satisfying the minds of the people, a river that is the embodiment of divine power and has many names like Bhagirathi, Janhavi, Tripathagamini, Ganges. It proves to be complete foolishness to consider river Ganges as just one river in India. A river which is the embodiment of faith of crores of Indians, which provides water to 40% of the population of this agricultural country, can in no way be called less than a divine power. Perhaps this is the reason why river Ganges is considered very sacred among Hindus and it is also worshiped with undying faith. In Sanatan Dharma, Ganges has been called Mokshadayini i.e. the one who provides salvation. According to Sanatan belief, there was a king named Bhagiratha who performed severe penance to provide salvation to his ancestors and brought Ganges to earth, hence Ganges is also known as Bhagirathi. Bhagiratha prayed to Lord Shiva to control the speed of Ganges, then Lord Shiva took Ganges in his locks to control the speed of Ganges. Ganges is also called Jatashankari because it flows from Shiva’s hair.

The sacred river Ganges is worshiped all over India and portrayed as the goddess of salvation for many. It is believed that by taking bath in Ganges, one gets freedom from all sins. Ganges water is considered extremely sacred, hence special pujas are conducted on the banks of Ganges. People from all over the country and abroad come to Haridwar in lakhs to take a dip of faith in the Ganges water. Haridwar is also called the Gangesdwar because it is from here that the Ganges enters the plains. Ganges water is used in all rituals and ceremonies.

People consider Mother Ganges, the giver of life and salvation, as sacred, but perhaps it is the effect of today’s Kaliyuga that the very sons who call Ganges as their mother are engaged in destroying her integrity and purity. People come to take bath in Ganges but also throw various types of garbage, clothes, plastic etc. in Ganges. People are contaminating the water of Ganges by throwing garbage in it which is considered sacred even for the Gods. We have to understand that the sacred water which is used for irrigation for our farmer brothers, the water which is used for the purification of the soul, the water on which we have so much faith in the purity of, contaminating that sacred water in any form is not good for us. It is also our responsibility to keep the water of Ganges pure.

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