As per the legends, King Sagar (Raghu clan) once organized 'Ashvamedha Yagya' (horse sacrifice ritual performed by royal kingdoms to prove their supremacy). While tracing the missing horse Sagar's 60,000 sons disrespected sage Kapil who turned them into ashes. But unfortunately their soul didn't got liberated. The only way to provide them 'mukti' was - 'Ganga Jal'. Generation after generation performed penance, but all failed to bring Ganga from heaven to earth. At last it was 'Bhagirath' whose dedication and determination descended Ganga from heaven into Lord Shiva's matted locks (to control powerful fall) and then gently onto earth. It is from that time this holy river is nurturing the lives of millions of countrymen.
The Mighty Ganga
The Ganga is India's most iconic, revered and important river. It is unique not only in terms of physicality, but the affection that is given to Ganga by the people of India belonging to different caste, creed or religion. Ganga flows down from the majestic Himalayas (Gangotri Glacier) passes through plains (Known as Ganga basin) and finally meets (Sangam) the swirling waters of Bay of Bengal (Ganga Sagar).
The Ganga river basin comprises 11 states and 17 major tributaries including Yamuna, Kosi and Chambal. 500 million people live in this basin in India. People gather on the banks of Ganga for religious and cultural activities (such as Kumbh Mela, Ganga Dusshera). Ganga is also home to so many species of flora-fauna and rich biodiversity.
Apart from spiritual aspect, Ganga is also famous for expeditions and adventurous sports such as river rafting, Bungee Jumping, Rock Climbing, Beach Camping, Hiking and lots more.
The Polluted Ganga
Despite such an iconic status, spiritual significance and religious heritage, the Ganga is among the top 10 most polluted rivers in the world. We all know that due to increasing size of population and urbanisation, the condition of the river is degrading day-by-day. In Spite of so much political intervention, a large volume of sewage waste generated by domestic and industrial activities is still dumped directly into the mainstem every day. Not only this the adventure sports (such as camping, river rafting) and tourism is also affecting Ganga adversely.
Over 40% of India depends upon Ganga river for drinking water, irrigation and ecosystem services. The pollution of Ganga is affecting us adversely - deaths of infant due to water borne diseases, land degradation and loss of biodiversity.
The river which flows down from Gangotri with a motive to cleanse our sins turns into a runnel carrying pollutants while passing through cities like Haridwar, Kanpur, Varanasi and Kolkata. Such disrespect of the river whom we call 'Mother Ganga' has been most rapid in last three decades. Because of human folly the lifeline of india - Ganga, which is seriously in danger.
Also Read: Is God Polluting The Planet Or Are We?
Reviving The Ganga
It took 'Bhagirath' years to bring back Ganga on earth to cleanse the sins of the mankind. Remember man can achieve wonders, once he puts in dedication and efforts. Now it's our responsibility to keep this holy river in its pristine, serene and pure form - the form in which Ganga originates from 'Gaumukh', the form in which 'Bhagirath' brought her on earth. Ganga enriches the spiritual lives of millions of Indians. She is the 'Living Goddess of India'.
The message is simple - Worship Ganga and she will give you whatever it is that you look of her. One should always ensure that the Ganga is in a purified state at all times and the true benefits (or worshipping her in such a state) will follow. This is because Ganga is regarded as the 'Maa Ganga', and her water has the power to diminish all our sins and lead individuals on the path of 'Moksha'. So don't let the lifeline of India disappear!
SHARE THIS POST