Sunday, June 8, 2014

Ganga Dussehra - Celebrate The Arrival Of River Ganga

Today, i.e. on June 14, 2016 is Ganga Dussehra, a festival which celebrates arrival of River Ganga on earth. Considered as the holiest river, Ganga descended from heaven to earth, due to Sage Bhagirath’s penance. Want to know how? Read this article and get to know the reason behind.

Ganga Dussehra in 2016 will be celebrated on June 8.

Ganga Dussehra is a ten day festival which celebrates the arrival of river Ganga on earth. It was this pious day when Ganga descended from heaven to earth. For this reason, Ganga Dussehra is also known as Gangavataran, meaning arrival of river Ganga. According to the Hindu Calendar, the festival commences with Amavasya and ends on the Dasami Tithi. Though the festival is celebrated throughout the country, but the real celebrations are seen in Bihar, Bengal, and Uttar Pradesh. Reason behind this is quite simple, the holy river Ganga flows through these places.

Ganga – The Most Sacred River

There is no doubt about the fact that not one, but many rivers are treated as holy in India. However, when it comes to the holiest river, Ganga is the answer. In the name Ganga Dussehra, Ganga signifies the holy river and Dussehra/Dushara is made from the combination of words ‘Dus’ and ‘Hara’. Here 'Dus' refers to ‘ten’ and 'Hara' refers to ‘defeat’. Therefore, it is said that on this auspicious festival, one can get freedom from 10 sins or evils, by worshiping the holy river Ganga.

Ganga Dussehra Legend

During the ancient period, there lived a King, Sagara, who had two queens. From one wife, he had one son and from the second wife, he had 60,000 sons. Once, the king performed Ashwamedha Yagna (in which a horse is sacrificed). But Lord Indra stole that sacrificial horse, as he was scared of getting dethroned. After stealing the horse, the Lord left it in the Ashram of Rishi Kapila. Concerned about the lost horse, all the 60,000 sons went out in its search and reached Kapila's Ashram. Seeing the horse there, they thought that it was stolen by the Rishi. This enraged Rishi Kapila and he burnt all of them to ashes.

Hearing about the death of his father and other ancestors, Bhagirathi, grandson of King Sagara, wanted to conduct the last rites of them all. Bhagirath tried hard to convince Ganga to descend on earth for the salvation of his ancestors. As he knew that the flow of the river could cause harm to all the species, he asked for someone to check Ganga's flow. For this, he performed Tapasya (penance) and pleased Lord Shiva, who agreed to control flow of the river. Hence, Ganga began its flow from heaven to tangled hair of Lord Shiva, from where it descended on earth. As Ganga was brought to earth by Bhagiratha, thus, it is also known as Bhagirathi.

Religious Rituals Associated With Ganga Dussehra

A number of rituals are associated with Ganga Dussehra celebration. So, what are those rituals? Here they are in the below mentioned points:
  • Holy bath is taken in the sacred water of Ganga
  • Floating lamps are offered in the holy water of the river
  • Diyas filled with Ghee (purified butter) and flowers are offered
  • Aarti is performed to honor Goddess Ganga
  • Ganga Jal is carried to home by the devotees
  • Fast is observed with a belief that Ganga will eradicate all sins
River Ganga is deeply attached with Indian traditions and values. For the devotees, the river holds a lot of mythological and religious importance. Not only its holy water washes away all sins and evils, but the river is nurturing billions of lives from the ancient times.

Read about Ganga Dussehra 2016 in detail, here - Ganga Dussehra 2016

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