Monday, November 12, 2012

The Ganges River,,

The Ganges ( /ˈɡændʒiːz/ gan-jeez) or Ganga (IPA: [ˈɡəŋɡaː] ( listen)), is a trans-boundary river of India andBangladesh. The 2,525 km (1,569 mi) river rises in the western Himalayas in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, and flows south and east through the Gangetic Plain of North India into Bangladesh, where it empties into the Bay of Bengal. Sony VAIO PCG-3B1M Battery

It is the longest river of India and is the second greatest river in the world by water discharge.[4] The Ganges basin is the most heavily populated river basin in the world, with over 400 million people and a population density of about 1,000 inhabitants per square mile (390 /km2).[5]

The Ganges is the most sacred river to Hindus and is also a lifeline to millions of Indians who live along its course and depend on it for their daily needs. Sony VAIO PCG-3C1T Battery

It is worshiped as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism.[7] It has also been important historically: many former provincial or imperial capitals (such as Patliputra,[8] Kannauj,[8] Kara,Kashi, Allahabad, Murshidabad, Munger, Baharampur and Kolkata) have been located on its banksThe Ganges was ranked among the five most polluted rivers of the world in 2007, Sony VAIO PCG-3D1M Battery

with fecal coliform levels in the river near Varanasi more than one hundred times the official Indian government limits.[10] Pollution threatens not only humans, but also more than 140 fish species, 90 amphibian species and the endangered Ganges river dolphin.[9] The Ganga Action Plan, an environmental initiative to clean up the river, has been a major failure thus far, Sony VAIO PCG-3G2M Battery

due to corruption and lack of technical expertise,[14] lack of good environmental planning,[15]Indian traditions and beliefs,[16] and lack of support from religious authorities.The Ganges begins at the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers. The Bhagirathi is considered to be the true source in Hindu culture and mythology, although the Alaknanda is longer.Sony VAIO PCG-5R1M Battery

The headwaters of the Alakananda are formed by snowmelt from such peaks as Nanda Devi, Trisul, and Kamet. The Bhagirathi rises at the foot of Gangotri Glacier, at Gaumukh, at an elevation of 3,892 m (12,769 ft).Although many small streams comprise the headwaters of the Ganges, the six longest and their five confluences are considered sacred. Sony VAIO PCG-7141M Battery

The six headstreams are the Alaknanda, Dhauliganga, Nandakini, Pindar, Mandakini, andBhagirathi rivers. The five confluences, known as the Panch Prayag, are all along the Alaknanda. They are, in downstream order, Vishnuprayag, where the Dhauliganga joins the Alaknanda; Nandprayag, where the Nandakini joins; Sony VAIO PCG-7143M Battery

Karnaprayag, where the Pindar joins, Rudraprayag, where the Mandakini joins; and finally, Devprayag, where the Bhagirathi joins the Alaknanda to form the Ganges River proper.After flowing 250 kilometres (160 mi) through its narrow Himalayan valley, the Ganges emerges from the mountains at Rishikesh, then debouches onto the Gangetic Plain at the pilgrimage town of Haridwar.Sony VAIO PCG-7151M Battery

At Haridwar, a dam diverts some of its waters into the Ganges Canal, which irrigates the Doab region of Uttar Pradesh, whereas the river, whose course has been roughly southwest until this point, now begins to flow southeast through the plains of northern India.

The Ganges follows an 800-kilometre (500 mi) arching course passing through the cities of Kannauj, Farukhabad, and Kanpur. Sony VAIO PCG-7154M Battery

Along the way it is joined by the Ramganga, which contributes an average annual flow of about 500 m3/s (18,000 cu ft/s).[21] The Ganges joins the Yamuna at the Triveni Sangam at Allahabad, a holy confluence in Hinduism. At their confluence the Yamuna is larger than the Ganges, contributing about 2,950 m3/s (104,000 cu ft/s),[21] or about 58.5% of the combined flow. Sony VAIO PCG-7162M Battery

Now flowing east, the river meets the Tamsa River (also called Tons), which flows north from the Kaimur Range and contributes an average flow of about 190 m3/s (6,700 cu ft/s). After the Tamsa the Gomti River joins, flowing south from the Himalayas. The Gomti contributes an average annual flow of about 234 m3/s (8,300 cu ft/s). Sony VAIO PCG-7181M Battery

Then theGhaghara River, also flowing south from the Himalayas, joins. The Ghaghara, with its average annual flow of about 2,990 m3/s (106,000 cu ft/s), is the largest tributary of the Ganges. After the Ghaghara confluence the Ganges is joined from the south by the Son River, contributing about 1,000 m3/s (35,000 cu ft/s). Sony VAIO PCG-41112M Battery

The Gandaki River, then the Kosi River, join from the north, contributing about 1,654 m3/s (58,400 cu ft/s) and 2,166 m3/s (76,500 cu ft/s), respectively. The Kosi is the third largest tributary of the Ganges, after the Ghaghara and Yamuna.[21]

Along the way between Allahabad and Malda, West Bengal, the Ganges passes the towns of Chunar, Sony VAIO PCG-7153M Battery

Mirzapur,Varanasi, Ghazipur, Patna, Bhagalpur, Ballia, Buxar, Simaria, Sultanganj, and Saidpur. At Bhagalpur, the river begins to flow south-southeast and at Pakur, it begins its attrition with the branching away of its firstdistributary, the Bhāgirathi-Hooghly, which goes on to become the Hooghly River. Sony VAIO PCG-71312M Battery

Just before the border withBangladesh the Farakka Barrage controls the flow of the Ganges, diverting some of the water into a feeder canal linked to the Hooghly for the purpose of keeping it relatively silt-free. The Hooghly River is formed by the confluence of the Bhagirathi River and Jalangi Riverat Nabadwip, and Hooghly has a number of tributaries of its own. Sony VAIO PCG-7144M Battery

The largest is the Damodar River, which is 541 km (336 mi) long, with a drainage basin of 25,820 km2(9,970 sq mi).[23] The Hooghly River empties into the Bay of Bengal near Sagar Island.[24]

After entering Bangladesh, the main branch of the Ganges is known as the Padma. The Padma is joined by the Jamuna River, the largest distributary of the Brahmaputra. Sony VAIO PCG-7191L Battery

Further downstream, the Padma joins the Meghna River, the second largest distributary of the Brahmaputra, and takes on the Meghna's name as it enters the Meghna Estuary, which empties into the Bay of Bengal.The Ganges Delta, formed mainly by the large, sediment-laden flows of the Ganges and Brahmaputra rivers, is the world's largest delta, at about 59,000 km2 (23,000 sq mi). Sony VAIO PCG-3C1M Battery

It stretches 322 km (200 mi) along the Bay of Bengal.[5]

Only the Amazon and Congo rivers have a greater average discharge than the combined flow of the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, and the Surma-Meghna river system.[5] In full flood only the Amazon is larger.Sony VAIO PCG-3F1M Battery

The Indian subcontinent lies atop the Indian tectonic plate, a minor plate within the Indo-Australian Plate.[26]Its defining geological processes commenced seventy-five million years ago, when, as a part of the southern supercontinent Gondwana, it began a northeastwards drift—lasting fifty million years—across the then unformed Indian Ocean. Sony VAIO PCG-3H1M Battery

The subcontinent's subsequent collision with the Eurasian Plate and subduction under it, gave rise to the Himalayas, the planet's highest mountains.In the former seabed immediately south of the emerging Himalayas, plate movement created a vast trough, which, having gradually been filled with sediment borne by theIndus and its tributaries and the Ganges and its tributaries, now forms the Indo-Gangetic Plain. Sony VAIO PCG-3J1M Battery

The Indo-Gengetic Plain is geologically known as a foredeep or foreland basin.

The hydrology of the Ganges River is very complicated, especially in the Ganges Delta region. One result is different ways to determine the river's length, its discharge, and the size of its drainage basin. Sony VAIO PCG-8141M Battery

The name Ganges is used for the river between the confluence of the Bhagirathi and Alaknanda rivers, in the Himalayas, and the India-Bangladesh border, near the Farakka Barrage and the first bifurcation of the river. The length of the Ganges is frequently said to be slightly over 2,500 km (1,600 mi) long, about 2,505 km (1,557 mi), to 2,525 km (1,569 mi), or perhaps 2,550 km (1,580 mi). Sony VAIO PCG-8161M Battery

In these cases the river's source is usually assumed to be the source of the Bhagirathi River, Gangotri Glacier at Gomukh, and its mouth being the mouth of the Meghna River on the Bay of Bengal. Sometimes the source of the Ganges is considered to be at Haridwar, where its Himalayan headwater streams debouch onto the Gangetic Plain. Sony VAIO PCG-3C2M Battery

In some cases, the length of the Ganges is given for its Hooghly River distributary, which is longer than its main outlet via the Meghna River, resulting in a total length of about 2,620 km (1,630 mi), from the source of the Bhagirathi, or 2,135 km (1,327 mi), from Haridwar to the Hooghly's mouth. In other cases the length is said to be about 2,240 km (1,390 mi), from the source of the Bhagirathi to the Bangladesh border, where its name changes to Padma. Sony VAIO PCG-5N2M Battery

For similar reasons, sources differ over the size of the river's drainage basin. The basin covers parts of four countries, India, Nepal, China, and Bangladesh; eleven Indian states, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, and the Union Territory of Delhi. Sony VAIO PCG-5P1M Battery

The Ganges basin, including the delta but not the Brahmaputra or Meghna basins, is about 1,080,000 km2 (420,000 sq mi), of which 861,000 km2 (332,000 sq mi) are in India (about 80%), 140,000 km2(54,000 sq mi) in Nepal (13%), 46,000 km2 (18,000 sq mi) in Bangladesh (4%), and 33,000 km2 (13,000 sq mi) in China (3%).Sony VAIO PCG-5S1M Battery

Sometimes the Ganges and Brahmaputra–Meghna drainage basins are combined for a total of about 1,600,000 km2 (620,000 sq mi),[25] or 1,621,000 km2 (626,000 sq mi).[5] The combined Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin (abbreviated GBM or GMB) drainage basin is spread across Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and China. Sony VAIO PCG-9Z1M Battery

The Ganges basin ranges from the Himalaya and the Transhimalaya in the north, to the northern slopes of theVindhya range in the south, from the eastern slopes of the Aravalli in the west to the Chota Nagpur plateau and the Sunderbans delta in the east. A significant portion of the discharge from the Ganges comes from the Himalayan mountain system. Sony VAIO PCG-7171M Battery

Within the Himalaya, the Ganges basin spreads almost 1,200 km from the Yamuna-Satluj divide along the Simla ridge forming the boundary with the Indus basin in the west to the Singalila Ridge along the Nepal-Sikkim border forming the boundary with the Brahmaputra basin in the east. This section of the Himalaya contains 9 of the 14 highest peaks in the world over 8,000m in height, Sony VAIO PCG-7186M Battery

including Mount Everest which is the high point of the Ganges basin. The other peaks over 8,000m in the basin are Kangchenjunga, Lhotse, Makalu, Cho Oyu,Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, Annapurna and Shishapangma. The Himalayan portion of the basin includes the south-eastern portion of the state of Himachal Pradesh, the entire state of Uttarakhand, the entire country of Nepal and the extreme north-western portion of the state of West Bengal. Sony VAIO PCG-81112M Battery

The discharge of the Ganges also differs by source. Frequently, discharge is described for the mouth of the Meghna River, thus combining the Ganges with the Brahmaputra and Meghna. This results in a total average annual discharge of about 38,000 m3/s (1,300,000 cu ft/s),[5] or 42,470 m3/s (1,500,000 cu ft/s). Sony VAIO PCG-31311M Battery

In other cases the average annual discharges of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna are given separately, at about 16,650 m3/s (588,000 cu ft/s) for the Ganges, about 19,820 m3/s (700,000 cu ft/s) for the Brahmaputra, and about 5,100 m3/s (180,000 cu ft/s) for the Meghna.

The maximum peak discharge of the Ganges, as recorded at Hardinge Bridge in Bangladesh, Sony VAIO PCG-8152M Battery

exceeded 70,000 m3/s (2,500,000 cu ft/s).[35] The minimum recorded at the same place was about 180 m3/s (6,400 cu ft/s), in 1997.[36]

The hydrologic cycle in the Ganges basin is governed by the Southwest Monsoon. About 84% of the total rainfall occurs in the monsoon from June to September. Sony VAIO PCG-31111M Battery

Consequently, streamflow in the Ganges is highly seasonal. The average dry season to monsoon discharge ratio is about 1:6, as measured at Hardinge Bridge. This strong seasonal variation underlies many problems of land and water resource development in the region.[32] The seasonality of flow is so acute it can cause both drought and floods. Sony VAIO PCG-61111M Battery

Bangladesh, in particular, frequently experiences drought during the dry season and regularly suffers extreme floods during the monsoon.[37]

In the Ganges Delta many large rivers come together, both merging and bifurcating in a complicated network ofchannels. Sony VAIO PCG-51112M Battery

The two largest rivers, the Ganges and Brahmaputra, both split into distributary channels, the largest of which merge with other large rivers before themselves joining. This current channel pattern was not always the case. Over time the rivers in Ganges Delta have changed course, sometimes altering the network of channels in significant ways. Sony VAIO PCG-51211M Battery

Before the late 12th century the Bhagirathi-Hooghly distributary was the main channel of the Ganges and the Padma was only a minor spill-channel. The main flow of the river reached the sea not via the modern Hooghly River but rather by the Adi Ganga. Between the 12th and 16th centuries the Bhagirathi-Hooghly and Padma channels were more or less equally significant. Sony VAIO PCG-51212M Battery

After the 16th century the Padma grew to become the main channel of the Ganges.[24]It is thought that the Bhagirathi-Hooghly became increasingly choked with silt, causing the main flow of the Ganges to shift to the southeast and the Padma River. By the end of the 18th century the Padma had become the main distributary of the Ganges. Sony VAIO PCG-41111M Battery

One result of this shift to the Padma was that the Ganges joined the Meghna and Brahmaputra rivers before emptying into the Bay of Bengal, together instead of separately. The present confluence of the Ganges and Meghna formed about 150 years ago.[39]

Also near the end of the 18th century, the course of the lower Brahmaputra changed dramatically, altering its relationship with the Ganges. Sony VAIO PCG-41111V Battery

In 1787 there was a great flood on the Teesta River, which at the time was a tributary of the Ganges-Padma River. The flood of 1787 caused the Teesta to undergo a sudden change course (anavulsion), shifting east to join the Brahmaputra and causing the Brahmaputra to shift its course south, cutting a new channel. Sony VAIO PCG-61412V Battery

This new main channel of the Brahmaputra is called the Jamuna River. It flows south to join the Ganges-Padma. Since ancient times the main flow of the Brahmaputra was more easterly, passing by the city ofMymensingh and joining the Meghna River. Today this channel is a small distributary but retains the name Brahmaputra, sometimes Old Brahmaputra. Sony VAIO PCG-71112M Battery

The site of the old Brahmaputra-Meghna confluence, in the locality ofLangalbandh, is still considered sacred by Hindus. Near the confluence is a major early historic site calledWari-Bateshwar.

The Late Harappan period, about 1900–1300 BCE, saw the spread of Harappan settlement eastward from the Indus River basin to the Ganges-Yamuna doab, Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery

although none crossed the Ganges to settle its eastern bank. The disintegration of the Harappan civilization, in the early 2nd millennium BC, marks the point when the center of Indian civilization shifted from the Indus basin to the Ganges basin. There may be links between the Late Harappan settlement of the Ganges basin and the archaeological culture known as "Cemetery H", the Indo-Aryan people, and the Vedic period. Sony VAIO PCG-81111V Battery

This river is the longest in India.[42] During the early Vedic Age of the Rigveda, the Indus and the Sarasvati River were the major sacred rivers, not the Ganges. But the later three Vedas give much more importance to the Ganges.[43] The Gangetic Plain became the centre of successive powerful states, from the Maurya Empire to theMughal Empire. Sony VAIO PCG-81212M Battery

The first European traveler to mention the Ganges was Megasthenes (ca. 350–290 BCE). He did so several times in his work Indica: "India, again, possesses many rivers both large and navigable, which, having their sources in the mountains which stretch along the northern frontier, traverse the level country, and not a few of these, after uniting with each other, fall into the river called the Ganges. Sony VAIO PCG-81212V Battery

Now this river, which at its source is 30 stadia broad, flows from north to south, and empties its waters into the ocean forming the eastern boundary of the Gangaridai, a nation which possesses a vast force of the largest-sized elephants." (Diodorus II.37)[45] In the rainy season of 1809, the lower channel of the Bhagirathi, leading to Kolkata, had been entirely shut; Sony VAIO PCG-51111M Battery

but in the following year it opened again, and was nearly of the same size with the upper channel; both however suffered a considerable diminution, owing probably to the new communication opened below the Jalanggi. On the upper channel.

In 1951 a water sharing dispute arose between India and Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), after India declared its intention to build the Farakka Barrage. Sony VAIO VPCS13X9E/B battery

The original purpose of the barrage, which was completed in 1975, was to divert up to 40,000 cu ft/s (1,100 m3/s) of water from the Ganges to the Bhagirathi-Hooghly distributary in order to restore navigability at the Port of Kolkata. It was assumed that during the worst dry season the Ganges flow would be around 50,000 to 55,000 cu ft/s (1,400 to 1,600 m3/s), thus leaving 10,000 to 15,000 cu ft/s (280 to 420 m3/s) for East Pakistan. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery

East Pakistan objected and a protracted dispute ensued. In 1996 a 30-year treaty was signed. The terms of the agreement are complicated, but in essence they state that if the Ganges flow at Farakka was less than 70,000 cu ft/s (2,000 m3/s) then India and Bangladesh would each receive 50% of the water, with each receiving at least 35,000 cu ft/s (990 m3/s) for alternating ten day periods. Sony VAIO VPCS12V9E/B battery

However, within a year the flow at Farakka fell to levels far below the historic average, making it impossible to implement the guaranteed sharing of water. In March 1997, flow of the Ganges in Bangladesh dropped to its lowest ever, 6,500 cu ft/s (180 m3/s). Dry season flows returned to normal levels in the years following, but efforts were made to address the problem. Sony VAIO VPCF13M8E/B battery

One plan is for another barrage to be built in Bangladesh at Pangsha, west of Dhaka. This barrage would help Bangladesh better utilize its share of the waters of the Ganges.

The Ganges is a sacred river along every fragment of her length. All along her course, Hindus bathe in her waters. Sony VAIO VPCF13Z0E/B battery

All along her course, they pay homage to their ancestors and to their gods by cupping her water in their hands, lifting it and letting it fall back into her; they offer flowers and rose petals and float shallow clay dishes filled with oil and lit with wicks (diyas).[47] On the journey back home from the Ganges, they carry small quantities of her water with them for use in rituals (Ganga jal, literally water of the Ganga). Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/L battery

When a loved one dies, they return to the Ganges to consign the ashes to her custody.[48]

The Ganges is the embodiment of all sacred waters in Hindu mythology.[49] Local rivers are said to be like the Ganges, and are sometimes called the local Ganges (Ganga).[49] The Kaveri river of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in Southern India is called the Ganges of the South; Sony VAIO VPCM13M1E/W battery

the Godavari, is the Ganges that was led by the sage Gautama to flow through Central India.[49] The Ganges is invoked whenever water is used in Hindu ritual, and is therefore present in all sacred waters.[49] In spite of this, nothing is more stirring for a Hindu than a dip in the actual river, especially at one of the famous tirthas such as Gangotri, Haridwar, Prayag, or Varanasi. Sony VAIO VPCF22M1E battery

The symbolic and religious importance of the Ganges is one of the few things that Hindu India, even its skeptics, are agreed upon.[50] Jawaharlal Nehru, a religious iconoclast himself, asked for a handful of his ashes to be thrown into the Ganges."The Ganga," he wrote in his will, "is the river of India, beloved of her people, Sony VAIO VPCF11M1E/H battery

round which are intertwined her racial memories, her hopes and fears, her songs of triumph, her victories and her defeats. She has been a symbol of India's age-long culture and civilization, ever-changing, ever-flowing, and yet ever the same Ganga."

In late May or early June every year, Hindus celebrate the avatarana or descent of the Ganges from heaven to earth. Sony VAIO VPCF13M0E/B battery

The day of the celebration, Ganga Dashahara, the dashami (tenth day) of the waxing moon of the Hindu calendar month Jyestha, brings throngs of bathers to the banks of the river.[51] A soak in the Ganges on this day is said to rid the bather of ten sins (dasha = Sanskrit "ten"; hara = to destroy) or alternatively, ten lifetimes of sins. Sony VAIO VPCYB2M1E battery

Those who cannot journey to the river, however, can achieve the same results by bathing in any nearby body of water, which, for the true believer, in the Hindu tradition, takes on all the attributes of the Ganges.The avatarana is an old theme in Hinduism with a number of different versions of the story. Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E battery

In the Vedicversion, Indra, the Lord of Svarga (Heaven) slays the celestial serpent, Vritra, releasing the celestial liquid, the soma, or the nectar of the gods which then plunges to the earth and waters it with sustenance.[51]

In the Vaishnava version of the myth, Indra has been replaced by his former helper Vishnu. Sony VAIO VPCY11M1E battery

The heavenly waters are now a river called Vishnupadi (padi: Skt. "from the foot of").[51] As he completes his celebrated three strides—of earth, sky, and heaven—Vishnu as Vamana stubs his toe on the vault of heaven, punches open a hole, and releases the Vishnupadi, which until now had been circling around the cosmic egg within. Sony VAIO VPCS12L9E/B battery

Flowing out of the vault, she plummets down to Indra's heaven, where she is received by Dhruva, the once steadfast worshipper of Vishnu, now fixed in the sky as the polestar.[52] Next, she streams across the sky forming the Milky Way and arrives on the moon.[52] She then flows down earthwards to Brahma's realm, a divine lotus atop Mount Meru, whose petals form the earthly continents. Sony VAIO VPCF11S1E/B battery

There, the divine waters break up, with one stream, the Alaknanda, flowing down one petal into Bharatvarsha (India) as the Ganges.[52]

It is Shiva, however, among the major deities of the Hindu pantheon, who appears in the most widely known version of the avatarana story.[53] Sony VAIO VPCYB3V1E/R Battery

Told and retold in the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and several Puranas, the story begins with a sage, Kapila, whose intense meditation has been disturbed by the sixty thousand sons of King Sagara. Livid at being disturbed, Kapila sears them with his angry gaze, reduces them to ashes, and dispatches them to the netherworld. Sony VAIO VPCF23P1E Battery

Only the waters of the Ganga, then in heaven, can bring the dead sons their salvation. A descendant of these sons, King Bhagiratha, anxious to restore his ancestors, undertakes rigorous penance and is eventually granted the prize of Ganga's descent from heaven. However, since her turbulent force will also shatter the earth, Sony VAIO VPCF23N1E Battery

Bhagiratha persuades Shiva in his abode on Mount Kailash to receive Ganga in the coils of his tangled hair and break her fall. Ganga descends, is tamed in Shiva's locks, and arrives in the Himalayas. She is then led by the waiting Bhagiratha down into the plains at Haridwar, across the plains first to the confluence with the Yamuna at Prayag and then to Varanasi, and eventually to Ganga Sagar, Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/L Battery

where she meets the ocean, sinks to the netherworld, and saves the sons of Sagara.[53] In honour of Bhagirath's pivotal role in the avatarana, the source stream of the Ganges in the Himalayas is named Bhagirathi, (Sanskrit, "of Bhagiratha").

Since Ganga had descended from heaven to earth, she is also the vehicle of ascent, from earth to heaven.[54] Sony VAIO VPCY21S1E/G battery

As the Triloka-patha-gamini, (Skt. triloka= "three worlds", patha = "road", gamini = "one who travels") of the Hindu tradition, she flows in heaven, earth, and the netherworld, and, consequently, is a "tirtha," or crossing point of all beings, the living as well as the dead.[54] It is for this reason that the story of the avatarana is told at Shraddha ceremonies for the deceased in Hinduism, Sony VAIO VPCF24M1E battery

and Ganges water is used in Vedic rituals after death.[54]Among all hymns devoted to the Ganges, there are none more popular than the ones expressing the worshipers wish to breathe his last surrounded by her waters.[54] The Gangashtakam expresses this longing fervently

O Mother! ... Necklace adorning the worlds!Banner rising to heaven!I ask that I may leave of this body on your banks, Sony VAIO VGN-AW110J/H Battery

Drinking your water, rolling in your waves,Remembering your name, bestowing my gaze upon you.

No place along her banks is more longed for at the moment of death by Hindus than Varanasi, the Great Cremation Ground, or Mahashmshana.[54] Those who are lucky enough to die in Varanasi, are cremated on the banks of the Ganges, and are granted instant salvation.[56] Sony VAIO VGN-AW11M/H Battery

If the death has occurred elsewhere, salvation can be achieved by immersing the ashes in the Ganges.[56] If the ashes have been immersed in another body of water, a relative can still gain salvation for the deceased by journeying to the Ganges, if possible during the lunar "fortnight of the ancestors" in the Hindu calendar month of Ashwin (September or October), and performing the Shraddha rites.[56]Sony VAIO VGN-AW11S/B Battery

Hindus also perform pinda pradana, a rite for the dead, in which balls of rice and sesame seed are offered to the Ganges while the names of the deceased relatives are recited.[57] Every sesame seed in every ball thus offered, according to one story, assures a thousand years of heavenly salvation for the each relative. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11XU/Q Battery

Indeed, the Ganges is so important in the rituals after death that the Mahabharata, in one of its popular ślokas, says, "If only (one) bone of a (deceased) person should touch the water of the Ganges, that person shall dwell honoured in heaven."[58] As if to illustrate this truism, the Kashi Khanda (Varanasi Chapter) of the Skanda Purana recounts the remarkable story of Vahika, Sony VAIO VGN-AW110J/H Battery

a profligate and unrepentant sinner, who is killed by a tiger in the forest. His soul arrives before Yama, the Lord of Death, to be judged for the hereafter. Having no compensating virtue, Vahika's soul is at once dispatched to hell. While this is happening, his body on earth, however, is being picked at by vultures, one of whom flies away with a foot bone. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11M/H Battery

Another bird comes after the vulture, and in fighting him off, the vulture accidentally drops the bone into the Ganges below. Blessed by this happenstance, Vahika, on his way to hell, is rescued by a celestial chariot which takes him instead to heaven.

Hindus consider the waters of the Ganges to be both pure and purifying. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11S/B Battery

Nothing reclaims order from disorder more than the waters of the Ganges.[61] Moving water, as in a river, is considered purifying in Hindu culture because it is thought to both absorb impurities and take them away.[61] The swiftly moving Ganges, especially in its upper reaches, where a bather has to grasp an anchored chain in order to not be carried away, is considered especially purifying. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11XU/Q Battery

What the Ganges removes, however, is not necessarily physical dirt, but symbolic dirt; it wipes away the sins of the bather, not just of the present, but of a lifetime.A popular paean to the Ganges is the Ganga Lahiri composed by a seventeenth century poet Jagannatha who, legend has it, was turned out of his Hindu Brahmin caste for carrying on an affair with a Muslim woman. Sony VAIO VGN-AW11Z/B Battery

Having attempted futilely to be rehabilitated within the Hindu fold, the poet finally appeals to Ganga, the hope of the hopeless, and the comforter of last resort. Along with his beloved, Jagannatha sits at the top of the flight of steps leading to the water at the famous Panchganga Ghat in Varanasi. As he recites each verse of the poem, Sony VAIO VGN-AW120J/H Battery

the water of the Ganges rises up one step, until in the end it envelops the lovers and carry them away.[61] "I come to you as a child to his mother," begins the Ganga Lahiri.

Ganga is a consort to all three major male deities of Hinduism.[63] As Brahma's partner she always travels with him in the form of water in his kamandalu (water-pot).[63] Sony VAIO VGN-AW150Y/H Battery

She is also Vishnu's consort.[63] Not only does she emanate from his foot as Vishnupadi in the avatarana story, but is also, with Sarasvati andLakshmi, one of his co-wives.[63] In one popular story, envious of being outdone by each other, the co-wives begin to quarrel. While Lakshmi attempts to mediate the quarrel, Ganga and Sarasvati, heap misfortune on each other. Sony VAIO VGN-AW160J/Q Battery

They curse each other to become rivers, and to carry within them, by washing, the sins of their human worshippers. Soon their husband, Vishnu, arrives and decides to calm the situation by separating the goddesses. He orders Sarasvati to become the wife of Brahma, Ganga to become the wife of Shiva, and Lakshmi, as the blameless conciliator, to remain as his own wife. Sony VAIO VGN-AW170Y/Q Battery

Ganga and Sarasvati, however, are so distraught at this dispensation, and wail so loudly, that Vishnu is forced to take back his words. Consequently, in their lives as rivers they are still thought to be with him.It is Shiva's relationship with Ganga, that is the best-known in Ganges mythology.Her descent, the avataranais not a one time event, but a continuously occurring one in which she is forever falling from heaven into his locks and being forever tamed. Sony VAIO VGN-AW180Y/Q Battery

Shiva, is depicted in Hindu iconography as Gangadhara, the "Bearer of the Ganga," with Ganga, shown as spout of water, rising from his hair.[65] The Shiva-Ganga relationship is both perpetual and intimate.[65] Shiva is sometimes called Uma-Ganga-Patiswara ("Husband and Lord of Uma (Parvati) and Ganga"), and Ganga often arouses the jealousy of Shiva's better-known consort. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190JAH Battery

Ganga is the shakti or the moving, restless, rolling energy in the form of which the otherwise recluse and unapproachable Shiva appears on earth.[63] As water, this moving energy can be felt, tasted, and absorbed.[63] The war-god Skanda addresses the sage Agastya in the Kashi Khand of the Skanda Purana in these words: Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NAB Battery

One should not be amazed ... that this Ganges is really Power, for is she not the Supreme Shakti of the Eternal Shiva, taken in the form of water?
This Ganges, filled with the sweet wine of compassion, was sent out for the salvation of the world by Shiva, the Lord of the Lords. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NBB Battery

Good people should not think this Triple-Pathed River to be like the thousand other earthly rivers, filled with water.The Ganges is also the mother, the Ganga Mata (mata="mother") of Hindu worship and culture, accepting all and forgiving all.[62] Unlike other goddesses, she has no destructive or fearsome aspect, destructive though she might be as a river in nature. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190NCB Battery

She is also a mother to other gods.[66] She accepts Shiva's incandescent seed from the fire-god Agni, which is too hot for this world, and cools it in her waters.[66] This union produces Skanda, or Kartikeya, the god of war.[66] In the Mahabharata, she is the wife of Shantanu, and the mother of heroic warrior-patriarch, Bhishma. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YAB Battery

When Bhishma is mortally wounded in battle, Ganga comes out of the water in human form and weeps uncontrollably over his body.[66] Hence Ganga is not different from Parvati.

The Ganges is the distilled lifeblood of the Hindu tradition, of its divinities, holy books, and enlightenment. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YBB Battery

As such, her worship does not require the usual rites of invocation (avahana) at the beginning and dismissal (visarjana) at the end, required in the worship of other gods.[63] Her divinity is immediate and everlasting.Early in ancient Indian culture, the river Ganges was associated with fecundity, its redeeming waters and its rich silt providing sustenance to all who lived along its banks. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YCB Battery

A counterpoise to the dazzling heat of the Indian summer, the Ganges came to be imbued with magical qualities and to be revered in anthropomorphic form.[68] By the 5th century CE, an elaborate mythology surrounded the Ganges, now a goddess in her own right, and a symbol for all rivers of India. Sony VAIO VGN-AW190YDB Battery

Hindu temples all over India had statues and reliefs of the goddess carved at their entrances, symbolically washing the sins of arriving worshippers and guarding the gods within.[70] As protector of the sanctum sanctorum, the goddess soon came to depicted with several characteristic accessories: Sony VAIO VGN-AW220J/B Battery

the makara (a crocodile-like undersea monster, often shown with an elephant-like trunk), the kumbha (an overfull vase), various overhead parasol-like coverings, and a gradually increasing retinue of humans.[71]Central to the goddess's visual identification is the makara, which is also her vahana, or mount. Sony VAIO VGN-AW230J/H Battery

An ancient symbol in India, it pre-dates all appearances of the goddess Ganga in art.[71] The makara has a dual symbolism. On the one hand, it represents the life-affirming waters and plants of its environment; on the other, it represents fear, both fear of the unknown it elicits by lurking in those waters and real fear it instils by appearing in sight. Sony VAIO VGN-AW235J/B Battery

The earliest extant unambiguous pairing of the makara with Ganga is at Udayagiri Caves in Central India (circa 400 CE). Here, in Cave V, flanking the main figure of Vishnu shown in his boar incarnation, two river goddesses, Ganga and Yamuna appear atop their respective mounts, makara and kurma (a turtle or tortoise). Sony VAIO VGN-AW290JFQ Battery

The makara is often accompanied by a gana, a small boy or child, near its mouth, as, for example, shown in the Gupta period relief from Besnagar, Central India, in the left-most frame above.[72] The gana represents both posterity and development (udbhava).The pairing of the fearsome, life-destroying makara with the youthful, Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF Battery

life-affirming gana speaks to two aspects of the Ganges herself. Although she has provided sustenance to millions, she has also brought hardship, injury, and death by causing major floods along her banks.[73] The goddess Ganga is also accompanied by a dwarf attendant, who carries a cosmetic bag, and on whom she sometimes leans, as if for support. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41JF/H Battery

The purna kumbha or full pot of water is the second most discernible element of the Ganga iconography.[74] Appearing first also in the relief in Udayagiri Caves (5th century), it gradually appeared more frequently as the theme of the goddess matured.[74] By the seventh century it had become an established feature, as seen, for example, the Dashavatara temple, Deogarh, Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF Battery

Uttar Pradesh (seventh century), the Trimurti temple, Badoli, Chittorgarh, Rajasthan, and at theLakshmaneshwar temple, Kharod, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh,[74] (ninth or tenth century), and seen very clearly in frame 3 above and less clearly in the remaining frames. Worshipped even today, the full pot is emblematic of the formless Brahman, as well as of woman, of the womb, and of birth. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41MF/H Battery

Furthermore, The river goddesses Ganga and Saraswati were both born from Brahma's pot, containing the celestial waters.[75]

In her earliest depictions at temple entrances, the goddess Ganga appeared standing beneath the overhanging branch of a tree, as seen as well in the Udayagiri caves.Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH Battery

However, soon the tree cover had evolved into a chatra or parasol held by an attendant, for example, in the seventh-century Dasavatara temple at Deogarh.[76] (The parasol can be clearly seen in frame 3 above; its stem can be seen in frame 4, but the rest has broken off.) The cover undergoes another transformation in the temple at Kharod, Bilaspur (ninth or tenth century), Sony VAIO VGN-AW41XH/Q Battery

where the parasol is lotus-shaped,[76] and yet another at the Trimurti temple at Badoli where the parasol has been replaced entirely by a lotus.[76]

As the iconography evolved, sculptors in the central India especially were producing animated scenes of the goddess, replete with an entourage and suggestive of a queen en route to a river to bathe. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF Battery

A relief similar to the depiction in frame 4 above, is described in Pal 1997, p. 43 as follows:

A typical relief of about the ninth century that once stood at the entrance of a temple, the river goddess Ganga is shown as a voluptuously endowed lady with a retinue. Following the iconographic prescription, she stands gracefully on her composite makara mount and holds a water pot. Sony VAIO VGN-AW41ZF/B Battery

The dwarf attendant carries her cosmetic bag, and a ... female holds the stem of a giant lotus leaf that serves as her mistress's parasol. The fourth figure is a male guardian. Often in such reliefs the makara's tail is extended with great flourish into a scrolling design symbolizing both vegetation and water. Sony VAIO VGN-AW50DB/H Battery

Kumbh Mela is a mass Hindu pilgrimage in which Hindus gather at the Ganges river. The normal Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 3 years, the Ardh (half) Kumbh Mela is celebrated every six years at Haridwar and Prayag,[78] the Purna (complete) Kumbh takes place every twelve years,[79] at four places (Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik). Sony VAIO VGN-AW51JGB Battery

The Maha (great) Kumbh Mela which comes after 12 'Purna Kumbh Melas', or 144 years, is held at Allahabad.The major event of the festival is ritual bathing at the banks of the river in whichever town it is being held. Sony VAIO VGN-AW52JGB Battery

Other activities include religious discussions, devotional singing, mass feeding of holy men and women and the poor, and religious assemblies where doctrines are debated and standardized. Kumbh Mela is the most sacred of all the pilgrimages.Thousands of holy men and women attend, and the auspiciousness of the festival is in part attributable to this. Sony VAIO VGN-AW53FB Battery

The sadhusare seen clad in saffron sheets with ashes and powder dabbed on their skin per the requirements of ancient traditions. Some, called naga sanyasis, may not wear any clothes even in severe winter.. Next Kumbh Mela will start on 27-January-2013 at Allahabad.

The Ganges and its tributaries, especially the Yamuna, have been used for irrigation since ancient times.[ Sony VAIO VGN-AW70B/Q Battery

Dams and canals were common in gangetic plain by fourth century BCE.

Megasthenes, a Greek ethnographer who visited India during third century BCE when Mauryans ruled India described the existence of canals in the gangetic plain. Kautilya (also known as Chanakya), an advisor to Chandragupta Maurya, the founder of Maurya empire, included the destruction of dams and levees as a strategy during war. Sony VAIO VGN-AW71JB Battery

Firuz Shah Tughlaqhad many canals built, the longest of which, 240 km (150 mi), was built in 1356 on the Yamuna River. Now known as the Western Yamuna Canal, it has fallen into disrepair and been restored several times. The Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built an irrigation canal on the Yamuna River in the early 17th century. Sony VAIO VGN-AW72JB Battery

It fell into disuse until 1830, when it was reopened as the Eastern Yamuna Canal, under British control. The reopened canal became a model for the Upper Ganges Canal and all following canal projects.

The first British canal in India—with no Indian antecedents—was the Ganges Canal built between 1842 and 1854. Sony VAIO VGN-AW73FB Battery

Contemplated first by Col. John Russell Colvin in 1836, it did not at first elicit much enthusiasm from its eventual architect Sir Proby Thomas Cautley, who balked at idea of cutting a canal through extensive low-lying land in order to reach the drier upland destination. However, after the Agra famine of 1837–38, during which the East India Company's administration spent Rs. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80NS Battery

2,300,000 on famine relief, the idea of a canal became more attractive to the Company's budget-conscious Court of Directors. In 1839, the Governor General of India, Lord Auckland, with the Court's assent, granted funds to Cautley for a full survey of the swath of land that underlay and fringed the projected course of the canal. Sony VAIO VGN-AW80S Battery

The Court of Directors, moreover, considerably enlarged the scope of the projected canal, which, in consequence of the severity and geographical extent of the famine, they now deemed to be the entire Doab region.

The enthusiasm, however, proved to be short lived. Auckland's successor as Governor General, Sony VAIO VGN-AW80US Battery

Lord Ellenborough, appeared less receptive to large-scale public works, and for the duration of his tenure, withheld major funds for the project. Only in 1844, when a new Governor-General, Lord Hardinge, was appointed, did official enthusiasm and funds return to the Ganges canal project. Sony VAIO VGN-AW81DS Battery

Although the intervening impasse had seemingly affected Cautely's health and required him to return to Britain in 1845 for recuperation, his European sojourn gave him an opportunity to study contemporary hydraulic works in the United Kingdom and Italy. By the time of his return to India even more supportive men were at the helm, Sony VAIO VGN-AW81JS Battery

both in the North-Western Provinces, with James Thomason as Lt. Governor, and in British India with Lord Dalhousie as Governor-General. Canal construction, under Cautley's supervision, now went into full swing. A 350-mile long canal, with another 300 miles of branch lines, eventually stretched between the headworks in Hardwar, splitting into two branches belowAligarh, Sony VAIO VGN-AW81YS Battery

and its two confluences with the Yamuna (Jumna in map) mainstem in Etawah and the Ganges in Kanpur (Cawnpore in map). The Ganges Canal, which required a total capital outlay of £2.15 million, was officially opened in 1854 by Lord Dalhousie.

A major barrage at Farakka was opened on 21 April 1975,Sony VAIO VGN-AW82DS Battery

It is located close to the point where the main flow of the river enters Bangladesh, and the tributary Hooghly (also known as Bhagirathi) continues in West Bengal past Kolkata. This barrage, which feeds the Hooghly branch of the river by a 26-mile (42 km) long feeder canal, and its water flow management has been a long-lingering source of dispute with Bangladesh. Sony VAIO VGN-AW82JS Battery

Indo-Bangladesh Ganges Water Treaty signed in December 1996 addressed some of the water sharing issues between India and Bangladesh.[85]

Tehri Dam was constructed on Bhagirathi River, tributary of the Ganges. It's located 1.5 km downstream of Ganesh Prayag, the place where Bhilangana meets Bhagirathi. Sony VAIO VGN-AW82YS Battery

Bhagirathi is called Ganges after Devprayag.[87] Construction of the dam in an earthquake prone area[88] was controversial.[89]

Bansagar Dam was built on the Son River, a tributary of the Ganges, for both irrigation and hydroelectric power generation. Sony VAIO VGN-AW83FS Battery

The Ganges Basin with its fertile soil is instrumental to the agricultural economies of India and Bangladesh. The Ganges and its tributaries provide a perennial source of irrigation to a large area. Chief crops cultivated in the area include rice, sugarcane,lentils, oil seeds, potatoes, and wheat. Along the banks of the river, Sony VAIO VGN-AW83GS Battery

the presence of swamps and lakes provide a rich growing area for crops such as legumes, chillies, mustard, sesame, sugarcane, and jute. There are also many fishing opportunities to many along the river, though it remains highly polluted. Kanpur, largest leather producing city in the world is situated on the banks of this river. Sony VAIO VGN-AW83HS Battery

Tourism is another related activity. Three towns holy to Hinduism – Haridwar, Allahabad, and Varanasi – attract thousands of pilgrims to its waters. Thousands of Hindu pilgrims arrive at these three towns to take a dip in the Ganges, which is believed to cleanse oneself of sins and help attain salvation. Sony VAIO VGN-AW90NS Battery

The rapids of the Ganges also are popular for river rafting, attracting hundreds of adventure seekers in the summer months. Street vendors sell homemade bowls of flowers with tea light for visitors to set on the water at sunset.

The Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna basin has a huge hydroelectric potential, Sony VAIO VGN-AW90S Battery

on the order of 200,000 to 250,000 megawatts, nearly half of which could be easily harnessed. As of 1999, India tapped about 12% of the hydroelectric potential of the Ganges and just 1% of the vast potential of the Brahmaputra.

The Ganges suffers from extreme pollution levels, which affect the 400 million people who live close to the river. Sony VAIO VGN-AW90US Battery

Sewage from many cities along the river's course, industrial waste and religious offerings wrapped in non-degradable plastics add large amounts of pollutants to the river as it flows through densely populated areas.[13][94] The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many poorer people rely on the river on a daily basis for bathing, washing, and cooking. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CDS Battery

The World Bank estimates that the health costs of water pollution in India equal three per cent of India's GDP.[95] It has also been suggested that eighty per cent of all illnesses in India and one-third of deaths can be attributed to water-borne diseases.

Varanasi, a city of one million people that many pilgrims visit to take a "holy dip" in the Ganges, Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CJS Battery

releases around 200 million litres of untreated human sewage into the river each day, leading to large concentrations of faecal coliformbacteria.[94] According to official standards, water safe for bathing should not contain more than 500 faecal coliforms per 100ml, yet upstream of Varanasi's ghats the river water already contains 120 times as much, 60,000 faecal coliform bacteria per 100 ml. Sony VAIO VGN-AW91CYS Battery

After the cremation of the deceased at Varanasi's ghats the bones and ashes are thrown into the Ganges. However, in the past thousands of uncremated bodies were thrown into the Ganges during cholera epidemics, spreading the disease. Even today, holy men, pregnant women, people with leprosy/chicken pox, people who had been bitten by snakes, Sony VAIO VGN-AW91DS Battery

people who had committed suicide, the poor, and children under 5 are not cremated at the ghats but are floated free to decompose in the waters. In addition, those who can not afford the large amount of wood needed to incinerate the entire body, leave behind a lot of half burned body parts.

After passing through Varanasi, and receiving 32 streams of raw sewage from the city, Sony VAIO VGN-AW91JS Battery

the concentration of faecal coliforms in the river's waters rises from 60,000 to 1.5 million,[10][97] with observed peak values of 100 million per 100 ml.[94] Drinking and bathing in its waters therefore carries a high risk of infection.[94]Between 1985 and 2000, Rs. 1,000 crore (Rs. 10 billion, around US$ 226 million, or less than 4 cents per person per year) Sony VAIO VGN-AW91YS Battery

were spent on the Ganga Action Plan,[13] an environmental initiative that was "the largest single attempt to clean up a polluted river anywhere in the world."[15] The Ganga Action Plan has been described variously as a "failure,"a "major failure,[11] a "colossal failure,"[12] and a "widely recognized failure."According to one study, Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CDS Battery

The Ganga Action Plan, which was taken on priority and with much enthusiasm, was delayed for two years. The expenditure was almost doubled. But the result was not very appreciable. Much expenditure was done over the political propaganda. The concerning governments and the related agencies were not very prompt to make it a success. Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CJS Battery

The public of the areas was not taken into consideration. The releasing of urban and industrial wastes in the river was not controlled fully. The flowing of dirty water through drains and sewers were not adequately diverted. The continuing customs of burning dead bodies, throwing carcasses, washing of dirty clothes by washermen, and immersion of idols and cattle wallowing were not checked. Sony VAIO VGN-AW92CYS Battery

Very little provision of public latrines was made and the open defecation of lakhs of people continued along the riverside. All these made the Action Plan a failure.

The failure of the Ganga Action Plan, has also been variously attributed to "environmental planning without proper understanding of the human–environment interactions, Sony VAIO VGN-AW92DS Battery

"Indian "traditions and beliefs,"[ "corruption and a lack of technical knowledge"[14] and "lack of support from religious authorities."[17]

In December 2009 the World Bank agreed to loan India US$ 1 billion over the next five years to help save the river. Sony VAIO VGN-AW92JS Battery

According to 2010 Planning Commission estimates, an investment of almost Rs. 7,000 crore (Rs. 70 billion, approximately US$ 1.5 billion) is needed to clean up the river.In November 2008, the Ganges, alone among India's rivers, was declared a "National River", facilitating the formation of a Ganga River Basin Authority that would have greater powers to plan, implement and monitor measures aimed at protecting the river. Sony VAIO VGN-AW92YS Battery

The incidence of water-borne and enteric diseases – such as gastrointestinal disease, cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid – among people who use the river's waters for bathing, washing dishes and brushing teeth is high, at an estimated 66% per year.[94]

Recent studies by ICMR say, It's so full of killer pollutants that those living along its banks in Uttar Pradesh, Sony VAIO VGN-AW93FS Battery

Bihar and Bengal are more prone to cancer than anywhere else in the country.

Conducted by the National Cancer Registry Programme under the Indian Council of Medical Research, the study throws up shocking findings. The river is thick with heavy metals and lethal chemicals that cause cancer, it says. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93GS Battery

"We know that the incidence of cancer was highest in the country in areas drained by the Ganga. We also know why. Now, we are going deeper into the problem. Hopefully, we'll be able to present a report to the health ministry in a month or two," NCRP head A Nandkumar said.

Human development, mostly agriculture, has replaced nearly all of the original natural vegetation of the Ganges basin. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93HS Battery

More than 95% of the upper Gangetic Plain has been degraded or converted to agriculture or urban areas. Only one large block of relatively intact habitat remains, running along the Himalayan foothills and including Rajaji National Park, Jim Corbett National Park, and Dudhwa National Park. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZFS Battery

As recently as the 16th and 17th centuries the upper Gangetic Plain harbored impressive populations of wild Asian elephants (Elephas maximus), tigers (Panthera tigris), Indian Rhinoceros (Rhinoceros unicornis), gaurs (Bos gaurus), barasinghas (Rucervus duvaucelii), sloth Bears (Melursus ursinus) and Indian lions. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZGS Battery

In the 21st century there are few large wild animals, mostly deer, boars, wildcats, and small numbers of wolves, jackals, and foxes. Bengal tigers survive only in the Sundarbans area of the Ganges Delta. Crocodiles and barasingha are also found in the Sundarbans.[18] The Sundarbands freshwater swamp ecoregion, however, is nearly extinct. Sony VAIO VGN-AW93ZHS Battery

Threatened mammals in the upper Gangetic Plain include the tiger, elephant, sloth bear, and chousingha (Tetracerus quadricornis).

Fish are found in all the major rivers of the Ganges basin, and are a vital food source for many people. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11EN Battery

In the Bengal area common fish include featherbacks (Notopteridae family), barbs (Cyprinidae), walking catfish (Clarias batrachus), gouramis(Anabantidae), and milkfish (Chanos chanos).[18] The critically endangered Ganges shark (Glyphis gangeticus) is also found in the river and other places in south Asia.[108] Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11MN Battery

Many types of birds are found throughout the basin, such as myna, parrots, crows, kites, partridges, and fowls. Ducks andsnipes migrate across the Himalayas during the winter, attracted in large numbers to wetland areas.[18] There are no endemicbirds in the upper Gangetic Plain. The Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) and Lesser Florican (Sypheotides indicus) are considered globally threatened. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ11XN Battery

The natural forest of the upper Gangetic Plain has been so thoroughly eliminated it is difficult to assign a natural vegetation type with certainty. There are a few small patches of forest left, and they suggest that much of the upper plains may have supported a tropical moist deciduous forest with sal (Shorea robusta) as a climax species. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ12VN Battery

The Ganges River itself supports the mugger crocodile (Crocodylus palustris) and the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus). The river's most famed fauna is the freshwater dolphin Platanista gangetica gangetica, the Ganges River dolphin,[106] recently declared India's national aquatic animal.

A similar situation is found in the lower Gangetic Plain, which includes the lower Brahmaputra River. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ12XN Battery

The lower plains contain more open forests, which tend to be dominated by Bombax ceiba in association with Albizzia procera, Duabanga grandiflora, and Sterculia vilosa. There are early seral forest communities that would eventually become dominated by the climax species sal (Shorea robusta), if forest succession was allowed to proceed. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ31VT Battery

In most places forests fail to reach climax conditions due to human causes.[110] The forests of the lower Gangetic Plain, despite thousands of years of human settlement, remained largely intact until the early 20th century. Today only about 3% of the ecoregion is under natural forest and only one large block, south of Varanasi, remains. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ31XT Battery

There are over forty protected areas in the ecoregion, but over half of these are less than 100 square kilometres (39 sq mi).[110] The fauna of the lower Gangetic Plain is similar to the upper plains, with the addition of a number of other species such as the Smooth-coated Otter (Lutrogale perspicillata) and the Large Indian Civet (Viverra zibetha). Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560 Battery

The Ganges River Dolphin, which used to exist in large schools near to urban centres in both the Ganges and Brahmaputrarivers, is now seriously threatened by pollution and dam construction. Their numbers have now dwindled to a quarter of their numbers of fifteen years before, and they have become extinct in the Ganges's main tributaries. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560N24 Battery

A recent survey by theWorld Wildlife Fund found only 3,000 left in the water catchment of both river systems.The Ganges river dolphin is one of only four freshwater dolphins in the world. The other three are the baiji (Lipotes vexillifer) of the Yangtze River in China, now likely extinct, the bhulan of the Indus River in Pakistan, and the boto of the Amazon River in Brazil. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560N30 Battery

There are several marine dolphines whose ranges include some freshwater habitats, but these four are the only dolphins who live only in freshwater rivers and lakes.

Along with ever-increasing pollution, water shortages are getting noticeably worse. Some sections of the river are already completely dry. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P Battery

Around Varanasi the river once had an average depth of 60 metres (200 ft), but in some places it is now only 10 metres (33 ft).

"To cope with its chronic water shortages, India employs electric groundwater pumps, diesel-powered tankers and coal-fed power plants. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P20 Battery

If the country increasingly relies on these energy-intensive short-term fixes, the whole planet's climate will bear the consequences. India is under enormous pressure to develop its economic potential while also protecting its environment—something few, if any, countries have accomplished. What India does with its water will be a test of whether that combination is possible." Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P22 Battery

The Tibetan Plateau contains the world's third-largest store of ice. Qin Dahe, the former head of the China Meteorological Administration, said that the recent fast pace of melting and warmer temperatures will be good for agriculture and tourism in the short term; but issued a strong warning: Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P28 Battery

"Temperatures are rising four times faster than elsewhere in China, and the Tibetan glaciers are retreating at a higher speed than in any other part of the world.... In the short term, this will cause lakes to expand and bring floods and mudflows... In the long run, the glaciers are vital lifelines for Asian rivers, including the Indus and the Ganges. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P30 Battery

Once they vanish, water supplies in those regions will be in peril."In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its Fourth Report, stated that the Himalayan glaciers which feed the river, were at risk of melting by 2035. The IPCC has now withdrawn that prediction, as the original source admitted that it was speculative and the cited source was not a peer reviewed finding. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ560P34 Battery

In its statement, the IPCC stands by its general findings relating to the Himalayan glaciers being at risk from global warming (with consequent risks to water flow into the Gangetic basin).

Illegal mining in the Ganges river bed for stones and sand for construction work has been a long problem in Haridwar district, Uttarakhand, where it touches the plains for the first time. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561 Battery

This is despite the fact that quarrying has been banned in Kumbh Mela area zone covering 140 km2 area in Haridwar.[118] On 14 June, Swami Nigamanada, a 34-year old monk who was fasting since 19 February 2011 against illegal mining and stone crushing along the Ganges near Haridwar, died at the Himalayan Hospital in Jollygrant in Dehradun, after prolonged coma in the hospital's intensive care unit. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561N20 Battery

His death put spotlight on the activity including intervention by Union Environment minister.

In Hinduism, the river Ganges is referred to as Gaṅ (Sanskrit and Hindi: गंगा Gaṅ, Burmese: ဂင်္ဂါ, IPA: [ɡɪ́ɴɡà]Ginga; Tamil: கங்கை gangkai, Thai: คงคา Khongkha) and is considered sacred. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ561P20 Battery

Personified as a goddess, Gaṅgā is worshiped by Hindus who believe that bathing in the river causes the remission of sins and facilitates liberation from the cycle of life and death. Pilgrims travel long distances to immerse the ashes of their kin in the waters of the Ganges, bringing their spirits closer to nirvana. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ562P Battery

Several places sacred to Hindus lie along the banks of the river Ganges, including Gangotri, Haridwar, Allahabad andVaranasi. During the Loy Krathong festival in Thailand, candlelit floats are released into waterways to honor the Buddhaand the goddess Ganga (พระแม่คงคา, คงคาเทวี) for good fortune and washing away sins. Sony VAIO VGN-BZ563P Battery

There are several Hindu beliefs that give various versions of the birth of Ganga. According to one version, the sacred water in Brahma's Kamandalu (water vessel) became personified as a maiden, Ganga. According to another (Vaishnavite) legend, Brahma had reverently washed the feet of Vishnu and collected this water in his Kamandalu. Sony VAIO VGN-BZAAFS Battery

According to yet a third version, Ganga was the daughter of Himavat, king of the mountains, and his consort Mena; she was thus a sister of the goddess Parvati. Every version declares that she was raised in the heavens, under the tutelage of Brahma.

Several years later, a king named Sagara magically acquired sixty thousand sons. Sony VAIO VGN-BZAAHS Battery

One day,King Sagar performed a ritual of worship for the good of the kingdom. One of the integral parts of the ritual was a horse, which was stolen by the jealous Indra. Sagara sent all his sons all over the earth to search for the horse. They found it in the nether-world (orUnderworld) next to a meditating sage Kapila. Sony VAIO VGN-BZAANS Battery

Believing that the sage had stolen the horse, they hurled insults at him and caused his penance to be disturbed. The sage opened his eyes for the first time in several years, and looked at the sons of Sagara. With this glance, all sixty thousand were burnt to death.[1]

The souls of the sons of Sagara wandered as ghosts since their final rites had not been performed. Sony VAIO VGN-BZAAPS Battery

When Bhagiratha, one of the descendants of Sagara, son of Dilip, learnt of this fate, he vowed to bring Ganga down to Earth so that her waters could cleanse their souls and release them to heaven.

Bhagiratha prayed to Brahma that Ganga come down to Earth. Brahma agreed, Sony VAIO VGN-CS118E/Q Battery

and he ordered Ganga to go down to the Earth and then on to the nether regions so that the souls of Bhagiratha's ancestors would be able to go to heaven. Ganga felt that this was insulting and decided to sweep the whole Earth away as she fell from the heavens. Alarmed, Bhagiratha prayed to Shiva that he break up Ganga's descent. Sony VAIO VGN-CS118E/R Battery

Ganga arrogantly fell on Shiva's head. But Shiva calmly trapped her in his hair and let her out in small streams. The touch of Shiva further sanctified Ganga. As Ganga travelled to the nether-worlds, she created a different stream to remain on Earth to help purify unfortunate souls there. She is the only river to follow from all the three worlds –Swarga (heaven), Prithvi (Earth) and, Patala (netherworld or hell). Sony VAIO VGN-CS118E/W Battery

Thus is called "Tripathagā" (one who travels the three worlds) in Sanskrit language.

Because of Bhagiratha's efforts Ganga descended to Earth and hence the river is also known as Bhagirathi, and the term "Bhagirath prayatna" is used to describe valiant efforts or difficult achievements. Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/P Battery

Another name that Ganga is known by is Jahnavi. Story has it that once Ganga came down to Earth, on her way to Bhagiratha, her rushing waters created turbulence and destroyed the fields and the sadhana of a sage called Jahnu. He was angered by this and drank up all of Ganga's waters. Upon this, the Gods prayed to Jahnu to release Ganga so that she could proceed on her mission. Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/Q Battery

Pleased with their prayers, Jahnu released Ganga (her waters) from his ears. Hence the name "Jahnavi" (daughter of Jahnu) for Ganga.

It is sometime believed that the river will finally dry up at the end of Kali Yuga (the era of darkness, the current era) just as with the Sarasvati river, and this era will end. Sony VAIO VGN-CS11S/W Battery

Next in (cyclic) order will be the Satya Yuga or the era of Truth.

The Ganges is mentioned in the Rigveda, the earliest and theoretically the holiest of the Hindu scriptures. The Ganges is mentioned in the nadistuti (Rigveda 10.75), which lists the rivers from east to west. In RV 6.45.31, the word Ganga is also mentioned, but it is not clear if the reference is to the river. Sony VAIO VGN-CS11Z/R Battery

RV 3.58.6 says that "your ancient home, your auspicious friendship, O Heroes, your wealth is on the banks of the Jahnavi (JahnAvyAm)". This verse could possibly refer to the Ganges.[2] In RV 1.116.18–19, the Jahnavi and the Ganges River Dolphin occur in two adjacent verses. Sony VAIO VGN-CS120J/P Battery

According to the Hindu scriptures like Skanda Purana, the goddess Ganga is foster-mother to Karttikeya (Murugan), who was actually a son of Shiva and Parvati.

Parvati who created an image of Ganesha (son of Shiva and Parvati) out of her bodily impurities but which became endowed with life after immersion in the sacred waters of the Ganges. Sony VAIO VGN-CS120J/Q Battery

Therefore Ganesha is said to have two mothers—Pārvati and Gangā and hence calledDvaimātura and also Gāngeya (the son of Ganga).[5]

According to Devi Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu has three wives, who constantly quarrel with each other, so that eventually, he keeps onlyLakshmi, giving Ganga to Shiva and Saraswati to Brahma. Sony VAIO VGN-CS120J/R Battery

The Hindu epic, Mahabharata tells that the Vasus, cursed by Vashishta had requested Ganga to be their mother. Ganga incarnated and became the wife of King Santanu on condition that at no stage shall he question her actions, or she would leave him. As seven Vasus were born as their children, one after the other, Sony VAIO VGN-CS190JTB Battery

Ganga drowned them in her own waters, freeing them from their punishment and the king made no opposition. Only when the eighth was born did the king finally oppose his wife, who therefore left him. So the eighth son, Dyausincarnated, remained alive, imprisoned in mortal form, Sony VAIO VGN-CS190JTP Battery

and later became known in his mortal incarnation as Bhishma (Devavrata), who is one of the most respected characters of the Mahābhārata. Sony VAIO VGN-CS190JTQ Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-CS190JTR Battery,Sony VAIO VGN-CS190JTW Battery

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