In India, the river Ganga (also known as the Ganges) is considered sacred and is worshipped as the goddess Ganga. With a strong belief that taking a dip or bathing in the river liberates the human soul from the cycle of life and death, the water of Ganga is considered holy and pure. People from all over the world

visit famous divine places such as Haridwar, Allahabad, Varanasi, and Gangotri which lie along the banks of Ganga.

What is Ganga Dussehra?

Ganga River Dussehra Festival 2019 and 2018
Also known as Gangavataran, Ganga Dussehra is celebrated by Hindus to mark the auspicious birth of the holy river Ganga which was believed to be descended from heaven to earth. According to the Hindu calendar month Jyeshtha, the festival is observed on the 10th day (Dashami) of the waxing moon (Shukla Paksha). Celebrated vigorously for ten days, the festival concluded on 24th May this year. Celebrated in primarily northern part of India where the river flows, people visit Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, and Bihar, to take part in the lively celebration. Devotees gather around the banks of river Ganga at several locations including Varanasi, Haridwar, Patna, Allahabad, Rishikesh, and Garhmukteshwar to perform aartis and worship the holy river.

Why is Ganga Dussehra important?

It is believed that when Ganga came down flowing into Earth from heaven, 10 rare Vedic astrologic calculations also came with it and when a devotee takes a dip in the holy river on Ganga Dussehra, these ten powerful Yogas eliminate all the sins, purifying one’s soul. Revered all over India, people store the holy water (Ganga Jal) at home for purification.

The auspicious festival of Ganga Dussehra also signifies the peak time of summers in India, hence people enjoy bathing in the river and drinking lassi, rose milk, and other delicious drinks.

Highlights of Ganga Dussehra Festival

Priests and people take a Holy Bath on the Ganga Dussehra Day

  • The festival of Ganga Dussehra is held for ten days and end on Dashami (10th day).
  • During the ten days of the annual festival which is held in May-June, devotees flock to Rishikesh, Haridwar, Varanasi and other banks of Ganga to take a dip in the holy river to attain salvation and cleanse their soul while getting rid of ten sins.
  • In the evening, people offer flowers to the river and light earthen lamps (diyas) that float on the river while they perform the grand aarti and sing reverential songs.
  • The festival symbolizes the peak summer season and arrival of rains with people drinking cool lassi, sharbat, and munch on delicious food.
  • How is Ganga Dussehra celebrated?

    Hindu priests believe that if you take a dip in the river on this auspicious day, it purifies your soul and heals any physical ailments one might have. It is said that devotees can attain salvation from ten sins (4 spoken, 3 organic, and 3 mental) or ten lifetimes of sings after bathing in the river during the ten days of the festival. Hence, the name Dashahara, which in Sanskrit translates to dasha (ten) and hara (destroy).
    On the same day, devotees worship and bathe in another holy river, Yamuna at places such as Vrindavan, Mathura, and Bateshwar. You will get cucumber and watermelon as holy offerings along with delicious sharbat, lassi, and shikanji. The blue open sky becomes colorful when children and elders engage in kite-flying activities on the banks of Yamuna.

    Ganga Aarti Dashahara Live 2018 2019
    In Varanasi, at the Dashashwamedh Ghat, people take part in rituals such as maha aarti and deep dan where floating diyas are offered to the river. The city of Patna celebrates the festival with full vigour and enthusiasm. During the evening hours, priests perform the grand aarti at Gandhi Ghat and offer 1100m flower garland to the river at Adalat Ghat. In places like Mathura and Vrindavan, temples all over the city organize special ‘darshans’ of respective Gods and Goddess decorated with white flowers and lingering fragrance.

    Devotees take a dip in Ganga River
    Hundreds of devotees visit the ghats of Ganga at midnight to take the holy dip at the break of dawn while offering water (arghya) to God Sun. During the evening hours, people participate in various events organized by religious and social organizations. If you visit the river bank in the evening, you will find hundreds of leaf boats laden with flowers and flame, floating in the river with sounds of the bells and shlokas, and bhajans, creating a spiritual and peaceful atmosphere.

    Overall, the festival of Ganga Dussehra provides a soothing and relaxing spiritual experience to devotees who come from all over India to pay their respects and express gratitude to Goddess Ganga.

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