Uttar Pradesh is synonymous with River Ganges. That’s 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.
Ganges is of great significance in Hindu mythology. Devotees revere Ganga as a deity. Innumerable mythological stories too are associated with the river.
The great epic Mahabharata mentions the most significant tale on the emergence of 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 got so strong that Lord Shiva had to hold the river by the strands of his hair. It is for this reason why Ganga Dussehra is celebrated.
While the 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.
1. Pujas and Bath Rituals. 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.
2. Huge Number of Devotees. 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.
3. Donations. It is believed that people can get salvation from 10 of their sins if they take a dip in the holy water of Ganges and make donations. A huge number of devotees get involved in Daan and Dakshina to clear their karma.
4. Other Rituals. 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 in four different cities of India on a rotational basis, though the biggest and the most significant celebration is carried in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. People can easily get here via air, road or rail. The city is well-connected to all other major cities of India by every mode of transportation.
01 June 2020 - 10 June 2020
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