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River Ganges

By Ellie Woolcott 9E

Contents
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Geographical Information Historical Information Religious Information Interesting Facts Collage of River Ganges Picture

Geographical Information
The river Ganges is the major river in India and crosses the border from Bangladesh into India. The river is 2,525 km and starts in the western Himalayas and goes south and east through India and empties in to the Bay of Bengal in Bangladesh. It is the longest river of India and is the second greatest river in the world by water discharge. Along the river Ganges it is heavily populated with around 400 million people living close by. This is the major factor for why the river Ganges has now been rated the 5th most polluted river in the world because of the large amount of human uses for it e.g. washing, fishing, pilgrimage and selling. Many markets are now on the water or close by to make it easier for them to sell. The fertile soil surrounding the river is used for lots of industrial agriculture and all of the many rivers triturates also provide soil for farmers to grow on. Along the river there are also many industries such as textiles, paper, leather, and many more that use the water for power and cleaning.

People washing in the river.

Map of where the river flows.

Historical Information
The River Ganges has had major influence in history, mostly towards the Hindus (religious information). Even though the River Ganges is the longest river in India, during the early Vedic Age (1700-1300 BC) of the Rigveda, a powerful emperor, the Indus and the Sarasvati River were the major sacred rivers, not the Ganges. But the later three Vedas people gave much more importance to the Ganges. The Gangetic Plain/Ganges area became the centre of successive powerful states. One of the first European explorers to explore India, Megasthenes (ca. 350 290 BCE) described the River Ganges as it was then becoming the most important river in India "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. Throughout history the river Ganges has been a stable place of refused in Indian culture as well as being one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Early drawing of the god Ganges which through history named the river after.

Religious Information
Hindus regard the Ganges as not only a river but also a mother, a goddess, a tradition, and a sort of culture for them. In Hinduism it is considered holy to take a pilgrimage to the Ganges and take a dip in the sacred water. If they dont do this it leads to illness and therefore adding to the death toll. Many Hindus believe that bathing in the Ganga can purify a person's soul of all past sins; some believe that it can also cure any illness. Many Hindu families keep Ganga water in their homes as they consider it to be very pure. The holy towns like Haridwar, Allahabad, Kanpur and Varanasi attract thousands of pilgrims. Theses town have lots of Mandirs in them. According to Hindu legend, a king named Bhagiratha did Tapasya for many years to bring the River Ganges. Ganges was then residing in the Heavens. By the help of pure water from the River Ganges, Bhagirath wanted to release his ancestors of a curse. Therefore, the Ganges descended to the Earth to make the earth pious, fertile and wash out the sins of humans.

Shrine on the edge of the river.

Interesting Facts
1. 2.

River Gangas is about 1557 miles long (2506 km). The Ganges basin in the Bay of Bengal is about 200 to 400 miles (322 to 644 km) wide.

3.

The river Gangas originates at Gangotri glacier on the southern slopes of the Himalayas, some 14,000 feet above sea level.

4.

River Bhagirathi and Alaknanda join each other at Devprayag to form River Gangas.

5.

Major pilgrimage places on River Gangas are- Rishikesh, Haridwar, Varanasi and Prayag (Allahabad).

6.

The mouth of River Gangas forms a vast delta, the Sundarban delta (the largest delta in the world).

7.

There are two major dams on the Gangas. One at Haridwar and the other dam is a part of the hydroelectric project at Farakka.

Collage of River Ganges Picture