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THE ETERNAL GANGA
THE LAND OF THE NAGAS
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Pilgrims bathing in the icy waters at Gaumukh ( Cowâ€™s mouth), the source of the Ganga.
A Vaishnav sadhu.
A Shaivite sadhu in deep meditation at Gaumukh.
A dip in the Ganga washes away all oneâ€™s sins. In the background are the Shivling (6,543 meter) and Bhagirathi ( 6,856 meter) peaks.
Pilgrims at Gaumukh worshipping the Ganga.
The eternal flow of the river Ganga.
A view of the turbulent river a short distance from Gangotri.
Hardwar is a place of pilgrimage for the Hindus. It is here that the Ganga cuts through the mountains and descends to the plains.
Pilgrims waiting for the Naga sadhus to complete their ritual ablutions.
A procession of Naga sadhus during the Kumbh Mela at Hardwar. These sadhus have the right to bathe in Ganga at most auspicious moment and all other must wait for them to finish.
A mammoth assemblage of pilgrims at Hardwar for the Kumbh Mela.
A Naga sadhu tying his jata (tresses) after a dip.
Pilgrims from all over India gather for the Kumbh Mela at Hardwar.
Pilgrims arriving at Garmuktesar, a small town in the Meerut district of Uttar Pradesh. Garhmuktesar is said to have been part of Hastinapur, the great city of Kauravas.
During the Kartik Purnima festival it is considerer very auspicious to bathe in the Ganga at Garhmuktesar
The river front at Garmuktesar swarming with morning bathers on the full moon day in the month of kartik (October- November)
Boat ferry pilgrims to Garmuktesar where the principal bathing festival is held on the full moon day of Kartik.
The river between Bithoor and Kanpur. It is common for the Ganga to change its course periodically.
With the fall in the water level of the Ganga in summer, long stretches of sandbank appear which are ideal for the cultivation of various cucurbitaceous plants.
The sangam or the confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna and the now extinct Saraswati at Allahabad or Prayag. The Hindus consider this spot to be very holy and occasionllythe Kumbh Mela is held here.
Of all the cities located on the banks of the Ganga, it is Varanasi which is perhaps the holiest an the oldest .
Time was when the entire trade of Varanasi was carried over the Ganga. Today, however, boats are used mainly to ferry passengers
Rituals on a ghat at Varanasi.
A priest meditating near the Manikarnika ghat.
A devotee offering Gangajal to the Sun god.
People come to Varanasi to bathe in the Ganga and meditate on its banks.
During the Nag Panchami festival held in August, special wrestling bouts are organized in the akharas of Varanasi.
A view of the Dashashwamedh, Prayag and Shitla ghat. In the second century Ad, Bharashiva kings defeated the Kushans and sacrificed ten horses which gave the Dashashwamedh ghat its name.
The purity of the Gangajal is legendary and those who live on the banks of the river prefer to use Gangajal rather than the tap water.
Sunrise and sunset on the ghats of Varanasi are a unique and memorable experience. On the ghats, the day begins very early, in fact in the third quarter of the night.
The ghats of Varanasi extend to almost four kilometers of the river bank.
There are seventy odd ghats along with the Ganga at Varanasi, and most of them were built in the eighteenth century.
The wide expanse of the river during monsoon.
Sitabdiara in Bihar inundated by the overflowing Ganga.
The threat of floods causes anxiety to the farmerâ€™s family living on the bank of the Ganga.
A farmer ploughs his field unmindful of the swollen river.
Boats bring in Ganga sand which is used for construction of houses.
Crossing the Ganga to attend the Sonepur fair or Harihar Chhatar Mela at the confluence of the Ganga and the Gandak near Patna.
Cattle being ferried across the Ganga near Patna for sale at the Sonepur fair held on the day of the November full moon
A sailboat on the Ganga near the Bihar-Bengal border
The festival of Chhat is celebrated in large parts of Bihar and eastern Uttar Pradesh in honuor of the Sun god.
The rituals of Chhat are usually performed on the bank of a river or a large tank. Here, a large crowd of devotees have gathered on the bank of the Ganga at Patna to make an offering to the Sun god.
After a prolonged fast, offerings are made to the setting sun on the sixth day of the new moon in the month of Kartik, i.e. six days after Diwali.
The Ganga has been badly polluted by the industries along its banks.
Belur Math, near Calcutta, was founded by Swami Vivekananda.
Steamers and tugs still ply on the Ganga near Calcutta.
The immersion of the Godess Durga marks the end of ten days of festivities of Durga Puja in West Bengal. In many other parts of the countries the same festival is celebrated as Dussehra.
Images of Saraswati, Lakshmi, Ganesh and Kartikye together with that of Durga are immersed in a river or a water tank or a pond on Vijaya Dashmi day.
The image of Goddess Durga being taken out in procession for immersion in the river. This ceremony marks the culmination of the Durga Puja celebrations, one of the main festivals of West Bengal.
Pilgrims who journey to Ganga Sagar to participate in fair often camp in the boat in which they have travelled.
Pilgrims arriving at Ganga Sagar, not far mouth of the Ganga where the river empties into the Bay of Bengal.
Slow boats to the Ganga Sagar fair.
A boat ferrying pilgrims back from Ganga Sagar.