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Ganga River

The Ganga River holds significant importance as India’s national river, a title conferred upon it by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 8, 2008. Since then, it has been an integral part of India’s national symbols. The Ganga River System encompasses numerous perennial and non-perennial rivers, with its southern source originating in the Peninsula and the northern source in the Himalayas. Originating from the Gangotri Glacier near Gaumuk in Uttarkashi, the river is initially known as the Bhagirathi.

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    Ganga River History

    For thousands of years, Ganga has been an essential part of the economic, social, and religious part of the people. It is the central part of Indian tradition, life, and culture. Many references to Ganga have been found in the later Vedic period. The first person to mention the Ganges was European traveler Megasthenes. In Rome, the fountain of four rivers ‘Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi’ was designed and built in 1651. It represents the world’s four great rivers. Ganga was also a part of this artwork.

    Course of Ganga River

    The course of the Ganga River can be divided into three parts:

    1. Upper Course
    2. Middle Course
    3. Lower Course

    The origin of the Ganga River is in the Himalayan Mountain Range. It is the confluence of six rivers. At Vishnuprayag, The Alaknanda River meets the Dhauliganga. At Karnaprayag, it meets the Pindar, the Nandakini at Nandprayag, the Mandakini at Rudraprayag, and at Devprayag, it meets Bhagirathi. The confluence of these rivers is known as the river Ganga.

    Upper Course

    The Bhagirathi River is the source stream. The stream originates at the Gangotri Glacier. The height of this glacier is 7,756 m. Melting snow and ice feed these rivers. The Ganga River reached Haridwar after travelling 200 km through the Himalayas. In Haridwar, a dam diverts the Ganga River into the Ganges Canal, linking it with the main tributary, Yamuna. At this point, the Ganga flows to the Southeast through the plains of Northern India.

    Middle Course

    There is a Sangam point at Allahabad at which the Ganga River meets Yamuna after flowing 800 km. In Hinduism, Triveni Sangam is considered a sacred place. At this place, the third river, the Saraswati, also met the other two rivers.

    Lower Course

    Multiple tributaries and distributaries, including the Kosi River, Gandak River, Son River, and Ghaghra River, emerge with the Ganga River, creating a powerful current between Allahabad and Malda District in West Bengal. Along its course, it passes through towns such as Mirzapur, Patna, Varanasi, and Bhagalpur. Upon reaching Bhagalpur, the river crosses the Rajmahal Hills, taking its direction to the south. At Pakur, erosion begins, leading to the formation of its first distributaries, the Bhagirathi-Hooghly, which becomes the Hooghly River.

    Ganga River System

    The Ganga River System covers an area of about 10,86,000 square kilometres. It is extended to Bangladesh, Tibet, Nepal and India. The Ganga River System makes up one-fourth area of India’s total land area. It is the biggest river basin of India covering an area of nearly about 8,61,452 square kilometers.

    The Ganga River System gets its fuel from melting Himalayan snowfall, rain, and freshwater from tributaries. It covers the areas of the union territory of Delhi, states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

    Ganga River Map

    Ganga River

    Tributaries of Ganga River

    The Ganga River Tributaries are divided into two categories

    1. Right Bank Tributaries
    2. Left Bank Tributaries

    Right Bank Tributaries

    The right bank tributaries of the Ganga River are:

    Yamuna: It is one of the longest tributaries of the Ganga River System. The source of the Yamuna River is the Yamunotri glacier. It is 6316 km long and is located at the western foothills of the Bandarpunch range.

    Son: It provides water to the Amarkantak Plateau. Son creates so many waterfalls.

    Punpun: It rises in the Palamu district of Jharkhand. It flows through Chatra, Aurangabad, Gaya, and Patna.

    Falgu: It flows in Bihar.

    Kiul: It originates in Jharkhand and flows through the districts of Lakhisarae, Sheikhpura, and Jamui in Bihar.

    Chandan: It flows in Bihar through the district of Bhagalpur.

    Ajoy: It originates from Jharkhand and ends up in Simjiri of West Bengal.

    Damodar: It originates from the region of Chota Nagpur Plateau and ends in Bankura.

    Tamsa: It flows through the states of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. It originates from Tamkund in the Kaimur range.

    Karamnasa: It originates from the Kaimur region and flows through Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

    Left Bank Tributaries

    The left-bank Tributaries of the Ganga River are:

    Ramganga: Its origin is at the Southern slopes of Dudhatoli Hill in the Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.

    Garra: It flows through Shahjahanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

    Gomti: It rises from Gomti Taal which is in Pilibhit, Uttar Pradesh.

    Ghaghara: The source of this river is the glaciers in Mapchachungo.

    Gandak: This river is the confluence of the Kali and Trisuli rivers. Its origin is in Nepal, the Great Himalayas.

    Kosi: This river is also known as the Saptakoshi. It flows through India and Nepal.

    Religious and Cultural Significance Ganga River

    In Hinduism, the Ganga River is the symbol of spiritual purity. Ganga river is worshipped as the Goddess Ganga ma. The Hindus offer flowers and food to the river as a sacrament. It is believed that the Ganga River has magical healing properties. Goddess Ganga is depicted riding a Makra.

    Millions of Hindus travel to the river during festivals to immerse themselves in water to cleanse their soul. This river also offers spiritual protection to the deceased. Hindus place the ashes of the dead into the river so that their soul has a safe passage to heaven.

    Ganga River Economy

    Ganga River is the lifeline and backbone of the northern Indian economy. It is the most important source of water. Ganga River has provided water for the irrigation of crops. In the future, the Ganga River will be an essential source of hydraulic power. Water is used to make hydroelectricity, and this provides electricity to the surrounding areas.

    Kumbh Mela, the religious festival, generates seasonal employment for 600,000 workers.

    Ganga River: Pollution and Conservation

    In 2011, the National Mission for Clean Ganga was launched. It was listed under the Societies Registration Act 1860. The area of this mission includes the entire Ganga Basin that passes through all the states in India.

    In June 2014, the Namami Ganga flagship program was initiated. It was for the conservation and rejuvenation of the Ganga.

    Under the clean Ganga mission, Phase II of the Ganga Action Plan was launched. The motive of this mission was to work on the existing sewage treatment plants to curb the problem of pollution.

    FAQs on Ganga River

    Write the names of the right bank tributaries of the Ganga River.

    The right bank tributaries of the Ganga River are: Yamuna, Son, Punpun, Falgun, Kiun, Chandan, Ajoy, Damodar, Tamsa and Karamnasa.

    What are the three courses of River Ganga?

    The three courses of river Ganga are: Upper Course Middle Course Lower Course

    What is the religious significance of Ganga?

    In Hinduism, Ganga is called as Ganga Maa. It is worshipped as the Goddess Ganga ma. After cremation, ashes are put into the river so that their soul can find the passage to heaven.

    In which state Ganga river is located?

    The Ganga river flows through several states in India, including Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal. It's not limited to just one state but spans across multiple regions, providing water and life to many areas in its path.

    Why Ganga is called Ganga?

    Ganga is called Ganga because it's named after the Hindu goddess Ganga, who is considered the personification of the river. According to Hindu mythology, Ganga descended from heaven to Earth, which is why the river is revered and considered sacred by many.

    Who is father of Ganga?

    In Hindu mythology, the father of Ganga is Himavan, also known as the king of the mountains. Himavan is the personification of the Himalayas, where the Ganga river originates. This connection highlights the sacred and celestial origin of the Ganga river in Hindu tradition.

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