Ganges River Facts


Where is Ganges River? What is the importance of Ganges River in India? Infoormation and facts about Ganges River.

Ganges RiverTo die on the banks of the River Ganges in India and to have one’s ashes cast on its waters, is for a Hindu to be sure of a happy future life. Bathing in its waters is believed to wash away sins and cure disease. Some places on its banks are more holy than others. There is Hardwar for instance, where the cold stream, fed from the snow and ice of the lonely peaks, breaks out from the Himalaya Mountains and enters the great plain of northern India. About 600 miles lower down, at the holy city of Benares, the banks are lined with temples from which great stairs stretch down to the river. There in the early morning thousands of pilgrims wait, some with sick relatives carried from distant villages, so that they may step down and bathe when the first rays of sun touch the sacred waters.

Indians often call the river Mother Ganges. It is a good name, for the food of millions of people depends on its waters. When the summer rains join with the melted snows from the Himalayas, the smaller rivers fill and cause the Ganges to rise and flood the low parts of the plain, soaking the soil so that it is ready for planting. Sometimes the river rises angrily and washes away a bridge or perhaps a village, but always when the flood is past it has left a coating of rich new soil behind. In the dry season its waters are sometimes led to the fields by ditches so that a second crop can be grown. Such artificial watering is called irrigation.

From the central Himalayas the Ganges flows for over 1,500 miles to its mouth at the head of the Bay of Bengal. Thousands of villages are scattered over the great plain through which it flows, and there are more people living here than in any other part of India. Along its course it passes great cities, some of them, such as Delhi and Agra, with long histories and famous old palaces and temples. Others, such as Cawnpore and Lucknow, Allahabad and Patna, have great markets and modern factories. At last it breaks up into many channels which flow through a marshy delta. These channels mostly go through East Pakistan, where the largest, called the Padma, is joined by the great Brahmaputra from the north. However, the most important branch for ships and therefore trade is the Hooghly, which flows southwards on the Indian side of the border. On the banks of the Hooghly stands Calcutta which, after London, is the largest city in the Commonwealth.

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