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Origin of Ganga

 Origin of Ganga

The origin of river Ganges lies at the height of 13,800 feet in the mountain ranges of Himalayas, in Tehri Garhwal, near Gangotri. It begins high in the Himalayas as a pair of head streams. It begins in an ice cave in the mountains about 10,300 feet above sea level. Gangotri is known as the place of origin of the revered Ganges river, known as Ganga in India. The holiest of the Indian rivers, is the longest river in India and the greatest waterway in India. The river has been declared as India's National River. Ganges is the source of sustainment of life in the great Indian plains and it is at Gangotri that the journey of Ganga begins. River Ganges gets water from the melting snow of Nanda devi, Gurla, Mandhata, Dhaulagiri, Gesaisthan, Kanchenjunga and Mount Everest. Many small and big rivers merge with the Ganges in the Himalayan region. The Ganges river flows through Bangladesh, but the greater part of it flows through India. The river flows across the northern corner of India. The Ganges flows across India and Bangladesh until it empties out into the Bay of Bengal. The great river provides water to many places, and many places rely on it.

Ganga Origin-Story of Bhagiratha

a) This is the most popular story regarding the origin of river Ganga. It is said that King Sagar magically acquired sixty thousand sons. Once, King Sagar organized Ashwamedh Yagna, a ritual of worship for the benefit of the kingdom. Jealous Indra planned a mischief and stole one horse from the place. King Sagar sent all his sons all over the earth to look for the horse. They found the horse in the nether-world standing next to Kapila Muni, a sage who was meditating. The youths, were disrespectful disturbed the sage during his meditation hours. The sage in anger for the misbehavior done reduced the youths to ashes with his withering look.

The souls of these young men wandered as ghosts as their final rites had not been done. The sixty thousand sons of Sagar came searching for the horse to the hermitage of Sage Kapila. They started to create nuisance, sage Kapila cursed them and they burnt to ashes. Anshuman another son of king Sagar came searching for his sixty thousand brothers, to Kapila's hermitage. When he came to know about the whole story he requested him to tell about the means by which his brothers could attain salvation. Kapila said that his brothers would attain salvation, if the water of Ganga were sprinkled on them.

Following the instructions of Kapila, Anshuman started doing penance on the Himalaya. But he was not successful in his attempt to bring Ganga to earth. His son Dilip too tried, but in vain. Atlast,  Bhagiratha, the son of Dileep was successful in getting a boon from Lord Brahma, as a result of which 'Ganga' descended down to earth. The force of the current was so great that there was a fear of her entering the nether world, unless she was stopped on the earth. Bhagiratha pleased Lord Shiva and requested him to hold her in his locks (hairs). Lord Shiva accepted it and did the same as requested and saved the earth from devastation. He released Ganga on the earth, as a result of which Ganga was subdivided into seven streams
1) Dwadini, 2) Pavani and 3) Nalini flew towards the east 4) Vakshu, 5) Sita, 6) Sindhu flew towards the west and the seventh stream followed the route, as instructed by Bhagiratha, and hence was called 7) Bhagirathi. Ultimately all the sixty thousand sons of Sagar were liberated by the sprinkle of the water of the Ganga. Since then Ganga is sanctifying the mankind with her divine waters.

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