Name the most important river of India, and you name the Ganga or the Ganges
. The Hindus worship it giving it divine status.
The great river takes it form as Ganga, from the union of the Himalayan rivers of Alakananda, Dhauliganga, Mandakini, Pindar and Bhagirathi. It is known as Ganga when the Bhagirathi joins with the other four at Devaprayaga in the Uttarakhand state. The Bhagirathi, originating from the Gomukh cave of the Gangotri Glacier, of some 7,756 meter height, is the source stream of the Ganga. Alakananda comes out from a corner of Mount Nandadevi. At Allahabad
of Uttarpradesh, Ganga meets Yamuna. The tributaries Kosi, Son, Gandak, Ghaghara, Baghmati, Ramganga, Gomati, Kaali, Rapti etc., too join Ganga and thus the river assumes the size of a gigantic flow and crosses over to West Bengal
. As the majestic river enters Bangladesh, it is known as Padma. And in Bangladesh, Jumna, and Meghna, both tributaries of the Brahmaputra too join the Ganga. Before it falls in the Bay of Bengal, the majestic river forms the large Gangetic delta called the Sundarbans
, 350 sq. km., one of the largest of its kind in the world.
The role of Ganges or Ganga
in the shaping up of the history and culture of India is enormous. The Gangetic plains are one of the most densely populated and cultivated in the world.
The Hindu belief is that the Ganga or Ganges is the daughter of the divine spirit of the Himalayas. The famous Hindu pilgrimage centers of Haridvar, Prayag, Varanasi etc or on the banks of Ganga. And the banks of Ganga or Ganges are dotted with several cities such as Allahabad, Patna,