Ganges – The River Of Varanasi
‘Ganges’- The River of Varanasi is the most suitable title as we all know, Ganges is the most ancient river which has historical and mythological significance as well. There is a very slight difference between history and mythology. History is backed with evidence and Mythology is backed with beliefs.
‘Ganga’ is 2,525 kms long river which rises at western Himalayas in Uttarakhand and flows till Bangladesh where it meets the Brahmaputra. To Hindus, the ‘Ganges’ is ‘Ganga Ma’ (Mother Ganga). For millions of Hindus life is incomplete without taking bath in Ganga to wash of their sins. A Hindu who dies in Varanasi for cremated alongside the ‘Ganges’ is also believed to be free from cycle of death and rebirth.
Ganges Mythological Or Historical View :
One of the most famous stories about ‘Ganges’ with respect to ‘Shiva’ is retold many times in ‘Ramayana’ and ‘Mahabharata’. Once sage ‘Kapila’ was in meditation for sixty thousands years, which was disturbed by Sons of king ‘Sagara’ so ‘Kapila’ burnt them in ashes and send them to the afterlife ie.. Heaven.
Only the water of ‘Ganges’ can bring them back to life.. Their descendant ‘Bhagirath’ took this responsibility on his shoulders and rigorously punished himself and eventually granted with the wish. However ‘Ganges’ can’t be brought to the surface directly as its force would shatter the earth.
Now King ‘Bhagirath’ pursued ‘Lord Shiva’ and ask his help ‘Lord Shiva’ brought flow of ganges into his Tangled hairs and let it enter on surface where it arrived at ‘Himalayas’ and flew through Varanasi towards ‘Bhagirath’ river and in the honor of king Bhagirath the flow of Ganga in Himalayas is known as ‘Bhagirathi’.
As I previously stated, there is a minor distinction between mythology and history. Stories like this one are said to be mythological but, I think that it’s more Historical than Mythological and we should be proud of it.
Significance of Ganges:
- ‘Ganges’ does not only have a religious significance for people but also a significant part of the Indian Economy. Ganges make the ‘Alluvial’ soil which is cultivated and has increased the production of crops like Sugarcane, Cotton, etc. Naturally, Ganges water is utilized for irrigation and also, because of irrigation, businesses like Animal Husbandry are sources of income for a common man.
- Varanasi is called ‘City Of Ghats’. When we think about Varanasi, the first thought comes in our mind is the ‘Ganges’ flows with peace and a number of Ghats at the bank and hundreds of people are there doing rituals. In Varanasi, there are a total of 88 Ghats. Many of them were built by the Maratha Empire in 1700 AD which were Bhosale, Shinde, Holkar and Peshwa.
- Boating is a very big business in Ganges basin. Down is the best time for boating. There is also humming of humdrum on Ghats at this time and the sound of silence of the river make use of all the things at that time to make that scene very beautiful.
‘Ma Ganges’ Aarti is performed everyday at dawn and sunset.
All of these things make Varanasi a different pilgrimage place from other places.
The presence of Ganges makes the atmosphere of Varanasi delightful and peaceful which leads to meeting our inner peace.
One visit to Varanasi is a must.