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. 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).
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. It has also been important historically: many former provincial or imperial capitals (such as Patliputra, Kannauj, 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. Pollution threatens not only humans, but also more than 140 fish species, 90 amphibian species and the endangered Ganges river dolphin. 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, lack of good environmental planning,Indian traditions and beliefs, 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). 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), 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.
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). The Hooghly River empties into the Bay of Bengal near Sagar Island.
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.
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. 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.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), or 1,621,000 km2 (626,000 sq mi). 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), 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). The minimum recorded at the same place was about 180 m3/s (6,400 cu ft/s), in 1997.
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. 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.
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.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.
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. 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. 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) 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). 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.
The Ganges is the embodiment of all sacred waters in Hindu mythology. Local rivers are said to be like the Ganges, and are sometimes called the local Ganges (Ganga). 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. The Ganges is invoked whenever water is used in Hindu ritual, and is therefore present in all sacred waters. 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. 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. 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.
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"). 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. Next, she streams across the sky forming the Milky Way and arrives on the moon. 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.
It is Shiva, however, among the major deities of the Hindu pantheon, who appears in the most widely known version of the avatarana story. 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. 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").