Haridwar is synonymous with River Ganges and that is the reason why a significant number of days are dedicated to worshipping this mystical river of the north. The stories associated with its purity and divine past are reminiscent of the rich Indian culture.
A dip in the Ganges is a symbol of a new beginning, leaving behind the mess and muddle of life and that is why Ganga Dussehra is celebrated, a festival wherein devotees from all around the country take part in many holy rituals that are specially performed during Ganga Dussehra.
The Ganges is of great significance in Hindu mythology. Devotees revere the river as a deity and innumerable mythological stories too are associated with the river.
The great epic Mahabharata mentions the most significant tale on the emergence of the Ganga on Earth. It mentions that King Bhagirath brought Ganga to earth to free the spirits of his forefathers from the curse of Saint Kapila. It is said that Ganga told Bhaghirath that it would be physically impossible to control her mighty flow and for that he should pray to Lord Shiva and ask for his favour.
Brahma, the creator, blessed Ganga and let her out of his Kamandal or the holy pot. And Ganga rushed on to the barren land with all her might. Her flow was so strong that Lord Shiva had to hold the flow of the river with the strands of his hair. It is for this reason why Ganga Dussehra is celebrated.
While River Ganges doesn’t need a festival dedicated to it as it is equally eternal throughout the year; to mark her prominence in our lives every day, this festival is observed.
The festival has a glory of its own. Ganga Dussehra celebration and the ceremonies last for about ten days. Devotees from all over the country throng in large numbers at places where the holy waters flow in Haridwar, Varanasi, Garh-Mukhteshwar, Prayagraj, etc. These ten days witness various ceremonies where people participate in bath rituals and carry out Pujas near the banks of the river.
It is overwhelming to witness the number in which people throng the ghats of Varanasi and Haridwar. It is pure contentment and can’t be found anywhere else.
It is believed that people can get salvation from 10 of their sins if they take a dip in the holy water of the Ganges and make donations. A huge number of devotees get involved in Daan and Dakshina to clear their karma.
There are so many rituals involved in this festival that make you feel happy, content, and at peace. Ganga Chalisa is chanted, people take part in Vedic pooja in a Lord Shiva Temple, wearing Ganga Jal locket, and also visiting Varanasi to witness Ganga Aarti.
Ganga Dussehra is celebrated at 4 places in India - Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, and West Bengal. The major location for the event, however, is Haridwar. This city is located at a distance of 249, 1,616, 1,474, 2,336 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru, respectively. Here is how you can reach there.
By Air. The city of Haridwar does not have an airport. Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun is the nearest one that is well-connected to various cities in India, such as Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore. From there, you have to take a taxi/cab to reach the location.
By Rail. The main railway station serving the area is Haridwar Railway Station. It comes under Northern Railway Zone and it is connected to major cities and tourist destinations in India, such as Delhi, Shimla, Mussoorie, Nainital, Mumbai, Trivandrum, Ahmedabad, etc.
By Road. Haridwar is well-connected to many cities across India, through many highways. And if you live nearby, you can also hire a cab or taxi.