Posted by Art Of Legend India [dot] Com On 1:14 AM
According to mythology, Ganga is considered as the most sacred river of the Hindus, who is very popular worshipped as a goddess in india. Gangajal, the water of Ganga, is considered very sacred. Science has proved that Gangajal is pure and bacteria free, it is used for religious ceremonies. Ganga is the goddess of the river Ganges. As per Hindu thoughts, bathing in the river on special occasions causes remission of sins and facilitates the attainment of salvation. Her power to wash away sins and liberate is so strongly believed that the ashes of the dead are spread over her. Ganga enriches the spiritual lives of millions of people. People immerse the ashes of their kins in Ganga, with a belief that the ashes would go to heaven. The mighty river is about 2,510 km in length and flows through many cities of India and Bangladesh.
Goddess Ganga is usually represented as a beautiful woman, who is shown white in color, wearing white clothes, sitting on the sea animal crocodile, holding in a water lily and lute. The source of origin of River Ganges is Gaumukh - the Gangotri Glacier in the state of Uttarakhand. Gangotri Glacier is acknowledged as one of the holy pilgrimages of India. The ultimate point of origin of Ganga is from the hair of Lord Shiva which makes it even more sacred. At the riverbank everyday Arti is held in praise of the Goddess who washes away everybody's sins. Haridwar, Rishikesh, Allahabad and Banaras are the principal cities where people accumulate in large numbers to witness Ganga Arti. Hindus believe that life is incomplete without bathing in Ganga at least once in their lifetime.Origin of the goddess Ganga
The story of Ganga’s origin is very interesting. Sagar, a king of Ayodhya, had no children. On doing a long penance he got magically sixty thousand sons. King Sagar decided to perform an Ashwamedh Yagya (horse sacrifice). When Indra saw that happen, he became worried by king Sagar's increasing powers. Therefoere, Indra stole the horse and tied it to the tree under which sage Kapila was meditating. When all sixty thousand sons saw the horse near sage Kapila, they thought that the sage stole our horse. Feeling disturbed and insulted, sage Kapila burnt them to ashes with yogic fire.
When Anshuman, the last remaining son of King Sagar, heard about his other brothers, he asked sage Kapila how to liberate their souls from the ashes. The sage Kapila advised him to please Brahma with penances so that he would release Ganga from his kamandula and bring Ganga to earth to purify the ashes and liberate his brothers. This task was undertaken by many generations. His sons and grandsons also carried out the penance and it was only Bhagirath, who pleased Brahma. Lord Brahma agreed to release Ganga and advised him to worship Shiva, so that he would accept to hold the force of Ganga.
Lord Shiva caught Ganga in his matted hairs in order to lessen the impact of her fall and released her from his locks in seven streams. The water of Ganga touched the ashes of Sagar sons and thus purified them. This is why Ganga is also known as Bhagirathi. She is thus alos regarded as the second wife of lord Shiva.
According to another version, once lord Vishnu was so captivated by a flute recital of Lord Shiva that his feet began to melt. Lord Brahma collected this liquified portion of Vishnu’s feet and produced the goddess Ganga, so the goddess is alternatively also known as Vishnu-Padi (which means born from Vishnu’s feet). Ganga is believed to exist as Mandakini in heaven, Ganges in the earth and Alakananda in the underworld, showering her blessings on all the three worlds.All paintings are courtesy of Art of Legend India.