"The River Ganges" Top 5 Page for this destination India Things to Do Tip by Hmmmm

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  The River Ganges at Varanasi - Pic: Aaron irving
by Hmmmm

The name of the Ganges is known all throughout the land of India. This river that runs for 1,560 miles from the Himalayas all the way to the Bay of Bengal is more than just flowing water. This river is life, purity, and a goddess to the people of India. The river is Ganga Ma, "Mother Ganges." Her name and her story is known all throughout the land. It is the story of how she poured herself down from heaven upon the ashes of King Sarga's sons. Her waters would raise them up again to dwell in peace in heaven. Not only that, but anyone who touches these purifying waters even today are said to be cleansed of all sins.

The Ganges is a place of death and life. Hindus from all over will bring their dead. Whether a body or just ashes, the waters of the Ganga are needed to reach Pitriloka, the World of the Ancestors. Just as in the myth with King Sargas' 60,000 sons who attained heaven by Ganga pouring down her water upon their ashes, so the same waters of Ganga are needed for the dead in the Hindu belief today. Without this, the dead will exist only in a limbo of suffering, and would be troublesome spirits to those still living on earth. The waters of the Ganges are called amrita, the "nectar of immoratality".

Directions: Varanasi - Benares - Kaasi is considered to be the holiest of all pilgrimage sites in India.

Where is it? Why it runs from the Himalaya to Bangladesh.

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Feb 9, 2005
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