गंगा स्नान का महत्व
The river Ganges known as Mother Ganga is the most important of the sacred rivers of India. Hindus regard the Ganges as the holiest of all rivers. It was named after the goddess Ganga, the daughter of the mountain god Himalaya The Puranas sacred texts declare that the sight, the name and the touch of Ganga, washes away all sins; and that bathing in Ganga bestows blessings of the highest order. Hindus choose Ganga for holy rituals. Gangajal, the water of Ganga, is held so sacred that with this in hand no Hindu would dare commit a sin
The river has its source in the Himalayas, at Gaumakh in the southern Himalayas on the Indian side of the Tibetan border ,flowing east through the Gangetic Plain of northern India into Bangladesh. The 2,510 km river rises in the western Himalayas in the Uttarakhand state of India, and drains into the Sunderbans delta in the Bay of Bengal. It is considered a holy river by Hindus and worshiped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism. The average depth of the river is 52 feet (16 m), and the maximum depth, 100 feet (30 m).
The tributaries to its left are Mahakali , Karnali , Koshi , Gandak , Ghagra and to its right are Yamuna , Son & Mahananda.
The Ganges, above all is the river of India, which has held India's heart captive and drawn uncounted millions to her banks since the dawn of history. The story of the Ganges, from her source to the sea, from old times to new, is the story of India's civilization and culture, of the rise and fall of empires, of great and proud cities, of adventures of man…
The river follows an 800 km curving course passing through the city of Kanpur before being joined from the southwest by the Yamuna at Allahabad. This point is known as the Sangam at Allahabad. Sangam is a sacred place in Hinduism. According to ancient Hindu texts, at one time a third river, the Saraswati, met the other two rivers at this point.
Religious Significance of Ganga
Situated on the banks of River Ganges, Varanasi is considered by some to be the most holy city in Hinduism. The Ganges is mentioned in the Rig-Veda, the earliest of the Hindu scriptures.
There are many stories as to how river Ganga came down from haven to earth. According to the Indian ancient books, King Sagar had sixty thousand sons who were burnt to ashes due to the anger of saint Kapil Muni. They blamed that the saint has stolen a horse of the ritual yagna of King Sagar. King Sagar took suggestion from various saints regarding the salvations of his sons. They all suggested that if the Holy Ganga is brought from the haven and the ashes of his sons were dipped in it, their souls will definitely achieve nirvana or moksha. King Sagar requested his son Bhagirath to worship Lord Brahma. The famous king Bhagiratha then did Tapasya for many years constantly to bring the river Ganga, then residing in the Heavens, down on the Earth to find salvation for his ancestors, who were cursed by a seer . When Brahmaji was pleased, he asked him to release Ganga from his Kamandal and let it flow on the earth. Brahma told that he would do as such but the earth will not be able to tolerate the extreme velocity of Ganga. That is the reason Lord Shiva received Ganga on his head. Lord Shiva did so but somehow Ganga got stuck in his hair. King again worshiped Shiva to release Ganga from his hair. Since than Ganga has been flowing on earth and is worshiped by billions. For Hindus in India, the Ganga is not just a river but a mother, a goddess, a tradition, a culture and much more.
Some Hindus also believe life is incomplete without bathing in the Ganges at least once in one's lifetime. Many Hindu families keep a vial of water from the Ganges in their house. This is done because it is prestigious to have water of the Holy Ganga in the house, and also so that if someone is dying, that person will be able to drink its water. Many Hindus believe that the water from the Ganga can cleanse a person's soul of all past sins, and that it can also cure the ill.
Some of the most important Hindu festivals and religious congregation (worship) happen here. Congregations are celebrated on the banks of the river Ganges, such as the Kumbh Mela every twelve years at Allahabad also known as Prayag.
Varanasi has hundreds of temples along the banks of the Ganges which often become flooded during the rains. This city, especially along the banks of the Ganges, is an important place of worship for Hindus as well as a cremation ground.
Ganga is regarded as the holy river of India. According to the Hindu beliefs a dip in the Ganga water can wash away all the sins. Thousand of people spend the last days of their life on the bank of the river. Ganga is regarded as the Goddess and is worshiped among the Hindus. Ganga Devi is one of the two daughters of Meru (the Himalayas), the other one is Uma (the consort of Shiva). Every day the arti (prayer) is done on the bank of the river to pay homage to the Goddess Ganga. Many people in India call Ganga as Ganga Ma.