Holy Ganges River

In Hinduism, the river Ganga is considered sacred and is personified as a goddess Ganga. It is worshipped by Hindus who believe that bathing in the river causes the remission of sins and facilitates Moksha (liberation from the cycle of life and death) the water of Ganga is considered very pure. Pilgrims immerse the ashes of their kin in the Ganges, which is considered by them to bring the spirits closer to moksha.

Several places sacred to Hindus lie along the banks of the Ganges, including Gangotri, Haridwar, Rishikesh, Allahabad and Varanasi. During the Loy Krathong festival in Thailand, candlelit floats are released into waterways to honor Gautama Buddha and goddess Ganga for good fortune and washing away sins (pāpa in Sanskrit, used to describe actions that create negative karma by violating moral and ethical codes, which brings negative consequences.)

Bhagavata Purana depicts the birth of the Ganges. According to Bhagavata Purana, Lord Vishnu in one of his incarnations, appeared as Vamana in the sacrificial arena of Asura King Mahabali. Then in order to measure the universe, he extended his left foot to the end of the universe and pierced a hole in its covering with the nail of his big toe. Through the hole, the pure water of the Causal Ocean (Divine Brahm-Water) entered this universe as the Ganges River. Having washed the lotus feet of the Lord, which are covered with reddish saffron, the water of the Ganges acquired a very beautiful pink colour.

Because the Ganges directly touches the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu (Narayana) before descending within this universe, Ganges is known as Bhagavat-Padi or Vishnupadi which means emanating from the lotus feet of Bhagavan (God). It finally settles in Brahmaloka or Brahmapura, abode of Lord Brahma before descending to planet Earth at the request of Bhagiratha and held safely by Lord Shiva on his head to prevent destruction of Bhumi (Mother Earth). Then, the river Ganges was released from Lord Shiva’s hair to meet the needs of the country according to Hindu mythology.

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