Tagged: Ganga

The Ganges River, known as “Ganga” in Hindi, holds immense spiritual significance in Hinduism. Ganga is not just considered a river but is also revered as a goddess, and her personification carries deep religious and cultural meanings.

Below, WHE present some frequently asked questions about Ganga:

Who is Ganga in Hindu mythology?

Ganga is a goddess in Hinduism, personifying the Ganges River. She is venerated as a divine mother, purifier, and a symbol of life-giving waters. She is believed to have descended from the heavens to Earth, a narrative that represents both her sustaining properties and spiritual significance.

Why is Ganga considered sacred?

The Ganges is considered the most sacred river in Hinduism due to its purifying properties. It is believed that bathing in its waters can wash away one’s sins and help attain salvation. The river is also intricately linked with various deities and religious rites, further enhancing its sanctity.

What is the story behind the descent of Ganga to Earth?

As mentioned earlier, Ganga’s descent to Earth is attributed to the penance of King Bhagiratha. He sought to cleanse the sins of his ancestors and grant them salvation, leading to the heavenly river’s descent. The force of the river was so great that Lord Shiva had to capture her in his matted hair to prevent destructive impacts, symbolizing the containment and channeling of divine energy.

How is Goddess Ganga usually depicted?

Goddess Ganga is often depicted in a white sari, riding a crocodile or a fish (makara), with a water pot (kamandalu) and a lotus in her hands. The makara represents the subterranean aquatic realm, and her ride on it signifies her mastery over it. The lotus and water pot are symbols of purity and abundance, respectively.

What are the main festivals associated with Ganga?

“Ganga Dussehra” and “Ganga Saptami” are two major festivals dedicated to Goddess Ganga. Ganga Dussehra is celebrated to mark the descent of the Ganges to Earth, and devotees flock to Ganges’ banks to bathe and perform religious rites. Ganga Saptami marks the day Ganga re-emerged from the matted locks of Lord Shiva.

How is Ganga related to environmental and sustainability concerns?

Given the Ganges’ cultural and spiritual importance, its conservation is a subject of significant concern. The river faces pollution and ecological degradation, which is paradoxical to its revered status. Several initiatives and cleanup missions, like the “Namami Gange” program, have been initiated to preserve its sanctity and ecological balance.

Where does the Ganges River start and end?

The Ganges River originates in the Himalayas, at the Gangotri Glacier, and flows south and east through the Indian states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and West Bengal. It finally empties into the Bay of Bengal, providing fertile plains and serving as a lifeline for millions of people.