Why is river Ganga considered as sacred?

Indian Culture has reversed all its natural resources and it is also evident from Vedic time on how the various forces of nature were worshiped to maintain the balance in the cycle of nature called Rita. Ganga is the longest river in India that originates from the Gangotri glaciers in the state of Uttarakhand and ends in the Bay of Bengal in Sagar Island.

It is a river which is considered to be the oldest as far as references in the sources of history are concerned. This river has been the life-giver for a population of the Gangetic plains for many centuries. There have been various issues of pollution related to River Ganga in recent times.

Why River Ganga is considered sacred

  • Stories and legends around the river − In the various sources of India mythology and the Puranas, there are stories on how Lord Shiva captured the flow of River Ganga in his Jata (hair-bun). Thus, it is a belief that Ganga originates from Lord Shiva himself. We find mention of river Ganga in the great epic of Mahabharata with reference to King Shantanu.

  • Popular beliefs around the river − It is a popular tradition that bathing in the holy water of River Ganga can purify the person of all the sins and give a new sanctity to life. The river water of Ganga- Gangajaal is equated to nectar in Indian traditions due to its purity and sanctity. The ashes of the deceased are also let into this river for it is considered to be a gateway for a peaceful departure to heaven.

  • Geographical significance − It is a matter of fact that thousands of pilgrims pay homage to river Ganga and it holds a lot of mythical importance. However, it is also to be noted that the river creates a fertile delta in the regions of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Thus, it is through river Ganga that agricultural and irrigation activities flourish in these regions.