he most sacred river of India, the Ganga (Ganges) originates in the mighty Himalayas and flows through the Northern Plains of India and drains into the Bay of Bengal. Over a vast period of time
this perennial river carried the rich alluvial deposits that have shaped the most fertile Gangetic plains of North India. It serves as lifeline for the farmers in North India, who are totally dependant on this river for irrigation purposes.

The legend associated with the Ganga is that King Bhagirath

Early morning Boat ride on the Ganges

carried out penance to bring the heavenly river down to the earth for the salvation of his ancestors. Hence, at its origin this river is referred to as Bhagirathi. The Ganga has its source in the Gangotri glacier in the lofty Himalayas at a height of about 14000 feet above sea level. Bindu -Sar - near Gangotri is referred to as the spot where Bhagirath is believed to have carried out his penances.

From lofty
Himalayas, the Ganga descends down through the holy town of Rishikesh to the plains at
The Ganges, flowing through Haridwar Haridwar, also referred to as Gangadwar. It further flows southeast past Garh Mukeshwar, Rajghat, Kannauj to Kanpur, and then to the holy city of Prayag (Triveni Sangam), where it is joined by the river Yamuna.

After leaving Prayag (Allahabad), it flows down eastwards through the ancient pilgrimage town of Benares (Varanasi). Before reaching the ocean it flows through the state of Bihar and W. Bengal. About 140 miles from the ocean, the mighty river Brahmaputra merges with theGanga, and it is from here that the river divides itself into
severalstreams and drains into the Bay of Bengal.

One of the islands at the mouth of the river Ganga is the Gangasagar - said to be the location of the hermitage of Kapila Muni, who is associated with the legend of Bhagiratha and the descent of the river Ganga.

Also known as Padma and Meghana, the Ganga is worshipped by

Evening Aarti of holy river Ganges

Hindus as Ganga Maiya (Mother Ganga). It is believed that the holy Gangajal (Ganges water) has the divine powers to remove the sins.Thus bathing in the river is considered to be most pious by the Hindus. From religious point of view the Ganga is considered to be the ladder to the heaven. Hence most of the Hindus wish to die within the specified limits of the Ganga, as it would send them to the heavenly world.

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