ganga dussehra festival
DatesStart Date: 20-06-2021 End Date: 20-06-2021
LocationUttar Pradesh, India
The festival of Ganga Dussehra is also known as Gangavataran, which translates to “the descent of the Ganga”. The river Ganga is considered to be holy in the Hindu religion and is treated like a mother giving it the same love and respect.
Ganga Dussehra is celebrated a day before the ‘Nirjala Ekadashi’, which is a day in which people fast without even drinking water. The Hindus believe that on this day, the river Ganga had descended from the heavens to the earth. According to the Hindu calendar, the festival falls on the tenth day of the ‘Dashami Tithi’. The festival lasts for about ten days, beginning on the Amavasya and ending in Shukla Dashami. This festival is seen to be celebrated with utmost enthusiasm in places like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand and West Bengal, where the river Ganga flows.
Since Goddess Ganga is considered as a symbol of purity, on this day the people gather at the banks of the river Ganga and take dips to attain a state of purification. It is believed by the people that taking a dip in the river will help wash away their sins of the present and the past. It is also believed that taking a dip in the river also cures any physical ailments or disabilities.
Many people visit the river yearly in this belief to attempt to cure themselves of various diseases. Although it is not scientifically proven, it is people’s faith that leads them to do it. They also perform several rites and rituals such as kite flying events, giving offerings of diyas into the river, and grand aarti (a religious ritual in which a lit lamp or Diya is rotated in front of a god or deity as a part of the prayer). During this festival, the people come together in places like the Haridwar, Varanasi, Garhmukteshwar, Rishikesh, Allahabad, and Patna to celebrate their faith and belief as one in unity.
The river Ganga is considered to be very sacred and holy by the Hindus. The name Dussehra is derived from the word “Dus” which means ten or ‘hara’ which means defeat. Therefore, it is believed that praying on this day will help a person gain salvation from their ten sins.
According to Hindu mythology, Rishi Bhagirath had spent years in order to convince the goddess Ganga to come to earth to purge the souls of his cursed ancestors. Its is believed that when she descended to the earth, she purified the place just as she did in the heavens.
The river Ganga is respected and worshipped not only because of its religious aspects but also because of its economic benefits from its origins at Gangotri to the Bay of Bengal.