Ganga is known by many names, including Jahnavi, Bhagirathi, Alaknanda, Padma, Mandakini, and Vishnupadi; the Goddess of the River, Maa Ganga, whose Vahana (Mount) is a Crocodile. She is well-known for her holiness, divinity, and purity.

River Ganga is considered sacred in Sanatana Hindu dharma and is believed to be incarnated as Goddess Ganga. Hindus worship her, believing that bathing in the river washes away all sins and facilitates Moksha (emancipation from the cycle of life and death). The water of Ganga is considered very pure. Pilgrims immerse their loved ones' ashes in the Ganga, which is thought to bring salvation to the spirits.

Ganga's Origin - The Goddess

Ganga is Lord Brahma's daughter, according to Hindu theology. She is said to have been born from Brahma's Kamandalu (Brahma's vessel) while he washed Vamana's feet (The dwarf Brahmin Avatar of Lord Vishnu). Ganga was created from Lord Vishnu's sweat, according to the Vishnu Purana.

Origin of Ganga - The River

The Ganga, also known as the Ganges, has Asian borders and flows through India and Bangladesh. It flows into the Bay of Bengal from the Gangotri glacier at Gaumukh in the Indian Himalayas. The river is 2,525 kilometres long and is considered one of Hinduism's holiest rivers.

The Story of Maa Ganga

There are numerous legends surrounding The Ganges' origin. The most popular story about Ganga is from the Valmiki Ramayana's Bal Kanda, where Rishi Vishwamitra recites about Bhagirath and Ganga's fall to the Earth. King Sagar, the ruler of Ayodhya and an ancestor of Lord Rama, had no sons. After a lengthy sacrament, he was promised and received 60 thousand sons. He then decided to perform the Ashwamedha (great horse sacrifice) yagna in order to become more powerful and thankful to the god's supremacy. Knowing this, Indra, the lord of heaven, became envious and decided to pillage the horse. He then tied the horse in the Ashram of Sage Kapil, who had been silently meditating for many years.

All of King Sagar's sons were tasked with finding the Horse. The holy sage's ashram was where the 60000 sons discovered the horse. Because everyone assumed the sage had stolen it, he was blamed for the break-in and insulted by all the sons. The assault jolted him out of his meditative state. With the yogic fire of his eyes, the enraged sage burned all the princes to ashes. When King Sagar heard this, he begged the sage for forgiveness. The sage then demanded that the sacred river Ganga be brought down from heaven to save all of his sons. Bhagiratha, one of Sagar's descendants, begged Brahma to send Ganga down to Earth to cleanse the souls of the sixty thousand sons. Brahma then agreed and sent Ganga to Earth. But Ganga, offended, attempted to sweep away the Earth with her plunge. Brahma instructed Shiva to break the Ganga's plunge. So Lord Shiva tangled her in his hair and received her in his interlocks. Because the lock was so strong, Ganga became helpless.

As a result, Ganga fell on his head. The river ran through his matted hair and fell to Earth, eventually reaching the underworld and cleansing the souls. As a result, the Ganga is divided into three sections. The part that remained in heaven is known as Mandakini, the part that fell to earth is known as Ganga, and the part that lowered the back region is known as Bhagirathi, named after King Bhagirath.

Representation of Ganga

The Goddess Ganga is frequently depicted in Hindu scripture with her distinct appearance. Goddess Ganga is depicted riding or sitting on a Magara (crocodile), which represents the life-giving nature of water. She is depicted as a fair-skinned woman wearing a white saree and a white crown, which represent her purity and celestial charisma. In her right hand, she holds a water lily, and in her left, a lute. When shown with four hands, she is holding a water-pot and a lily. A rosary is held in one hand in a protective position.

Ganga, along with her sister river goddess Yamuna, is frequently depicted in sculpture near temple doors and on decorative relief panels.

Ganga – the means of purification

Hindus place a high value on the Ganga. Ganga represents a type of divine knowledge that, through its purity and illumination, has the power to elevate all - dead and living - to the heavens.

Dying by the Ganges

The land through which the Ganges flows is considered sacred. Those who die within Gangakshtrya (the land of Ganga) are said to go to the heavenly world, where all their sins are washed away. The burial of a dead body on the banks of the Ganges, or even casting the departed's ashes into its water, is considered auspicious and leads to the deceased's salvation.

Ganga Jal – River water

Hindus regard Gangajal (Ganga's water) as the most pure and sacred water on the planet. "Gangajal" is so sacred that it is believed that by simply holding this water in one's hand, no Hindu dares to lie or be dishonest. Taking a dip in the holy Ganges, according to The Puranas (ancient Hindu scriptures), bestows heavenly blessings. Ganga Jal is also used in Hindu religious ceremonies.

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